Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Languages and Cultures

Committee Chair

Paul Dixon

Committee Co-Chair

Marcia Stephenson

Committee Member 1

Cara Kinnally

Committee Member 2

Dawn Stinchcomb


This dissertation analyzes the relationship between trauma, memory and discourse in the work of the most recent generation of Chilean authors, seeking to determine how these young writers review Chilean history from the perspective and interpretative possibilities of literary texts. Based on the notion of trauma as an impossibility to narrate and communicate the past, this study describes how, in each of the novels studied, a renewed awareness of the traumatic effects of the military dictatorship's violence can be perceived in Chile, as well as a firm intention to review that past and reverse the effects that violence has had on the processes of constructing Chilean memory and identity.

The analysis developed here allows us to conclude that these novels can in fact be understood as samples of an approach to discourse, in this literary case, where the recent history of Chile is understood as something that needs to be reviewed and re-told from different perspectives and by means of a language also renewed. In these works, this desire for renewal is reflected in a clear awareness of language as a tool that is both a carrier and a creator of meaning, identity and especially memory.

The literary discourse, in this way, works as a way to reexamine the traumatic past of Chile, allowing it to be narrated and communicated. Thus understood, the idea of "speaking about memory" ceases to be an empty repetition exercise to become a work of creation and understanding of the past and the recent history of Chile in order to understand its role in the present and in the (re)construction of the Chilean identity. Also, as the result of the transformation of the traumatic experience in a communicable speech, the act of speaking about memory in Chile as the analyzed texts demonstrate, would allow to reformulate the once drastic opposition between history and memory in the Chilean context, emphasizing the relevance of their interaction when studying the relationship between trauma, discourse and literature in the contemporary Chilean scenario.