Haunted things: Examining trauma and resistance in the fiction of Helena Maria Viramontes



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This thesis examines how material objects function in the works of Helena María Viramontes to reveal the traumatic experiences of her Chicana characters. It simultaneously questions how the critical lenses of thing theory and hauntology can expand our understanding of individual, cultural, and historical trauma. As a result of this study, readers should have a greater appreciation of the way that things can function to help expose not only fictional, but also real forms of racism and cultural oppression—the result of deliberate, systemic inequality and marginalization. If we can give things the attention they deserve, we can begin to see what Viramontes’ characters are desperately missing: sometimes the basic, human need for food, clothing, and shelter, but always the psychological need for safety, connection, purpose, and love.



Mexican American, Viramontes, Thing theory, Materialism, Hauntology, Trauma, Chicana, Literature, Trauma theory, Decolonial, Feminism, Indigenous