Writing the Ineffable: Domestic Violence and Female Employment in Carmen Laforet's Nada

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This article considers the unexplored and interrelated motifs of female employment and domestic violence in Carmen Laforet´s Nada. Andrea´s voyeuristic gaze renders an intimate and sustained portrait of the inversion of gender roles in a postwar marriage in which the wife, Gloria, is the breadwinner and the husband, Juan, is a dependent. My analysis is three-fold, centering primarily on Juan´s inadequate masculinity, Gloria´s economic power, and her strategies of resistance. I will then proceed to analyse her deflection of masculine antipathy towards her persona by her adoption of what Joan Riviere terms ‘the feminine masquerade', as well as her plot to section her husband. This article will foreground and elucidate class tensions, the suppression of Catalan, the gendering of urban space, and forms of female resistance. My article thus provides an unstudied entrée into Laforet´s relationship to class and gender, and its revalorisation of Gloria and Juan expands current critical thinking on Laforet's treatment of femininity and masculinity, while also illuminating the heretofore unstudied literary representation of the post-war working woman, and the traumatised male. This article will also consider Laforet's investment in this reconstruction of post-war gender archetypes, seeking to ascertain whether the representation of Gloria and Juan is a critical response to, and undoing of, prejudicial social and gendered practices, or do remnants of these very same biases underlie this representation?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalForum for Modern Language Studies
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2017


  • Nada
  • Contemporary Spanish Peninsular Literature
  • Carmen Laforet
  • Postwar Spanish Women's Writing


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