Fictional and Non-fictional Narrative Representations of State Repression and Terror in the Dirty Wars in Argentina (1976-1983) and Chile (1973-1990)
Keywords:forgiveness, dirty wars, Argentina, Chile, Ricouer, Avishai
I argue that fictional representations of the Dirty Wars in Argentina (1976-1983) and Chile (1973-1990) allow for the possibility of forgiveness and healing, while non-fictional representations such as testimonies and conversations do not. Focusing on a variety of fictional and non-fictional texts, I analyze why and how state repression inflicts trauma and violence upon its victims and survivors. The novels I analyze are no place for heroes by Laura Restrepo, El Angel’s Last Conquest by Elvira Orphée and Bedside manners by Luisa Valenzuela. The non–fictional works I analyze are Nunca Mas: A Report By Argentina’s National Commission on Disappeared People, That Inferno: Conversations of Five Women Survivors of an Argentine Torture Camp, Circle Over Death: Testimonies of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and We, Chile: Personal Testimonies of the Chilean Arpilleristas. The theoretical underpinnings of my arguments are Paul Ricouer’s Memory, History, Forgetting (2004) and Avishai Margalit’s The Ethics of Memory (2002), both of which attempt to think through the relationship between forgetting and forgiving.
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