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Journal Article

Never-Ending Story: Carmen Martín Gaite's The Back Room

Debra A. Castillo
PMLA
Vol. 102, No. 5 (Oct., 1987), pp. 814-828
DOI: 10.2307/462310
Stable URL: http:/stable/462310
Page Count: 15
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Never-Ending Story: Carmen Martín Gaite's The Back Room
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Abstract

It would be deceptively easy for a critic defining the central conflict of The Back Room, Carmen Martín Gaite's first post-Franco novel, to sort out a series of polar forces-chaos and order, memory and memoir, fantasy and reality, "loose" woman and Falangist supporter. While the narrator recognizes the impossibility of emancipation from these necessary structures of thought, she nevertheless insists on her freedom to question such dualisms and to collapse apparent polarities in a radically ambiguous manner, rendering undecidable many issues of limits and transgression. The resulting story is both untellable and never-ending, and its most significant allegorical representation in the text is a sewing basket full of miscellaneous items tangled in colored thread.

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