La mujer en llamas: Legal Storytelling in Lucha Corpi’s Black Widow’s Wardrobe

  • Sandra Ruiz


Using one of critical race theory’s tenets, legal storytelling, this essay focuses on the first Chicana mystery-detective writer, Lucha Corpi, her groundbreaking novel Black Widow’s Wardrobe (1999), and its unique approach to addressing crimes against women. Corpi’s novel solves the traditional mystery while also providing a secondary narrative on the history and evolution of United States and California laws and their relationship to women’s bodies as well as their intimate (private) and civic (public) lives. The Chicana feminist detective character Gloria Damasco engages in legal storytelling, or the act of challenging traditional and institutional methods, to expose how marital rape, human trafficking, and domestic violence can be viewed as colonial and patriarchal residues. Ruiz argues that the narrative, positioned as a liminal text within conventional American literary studies, challenges institutional and foundational forms of justice by placing a nontraditional character like Gloria Damasco as a turn-of-the-century negotiator and legal storyteller.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Ruiz
    • 1
  1. 1.West Los Angeles CollegeCulver CityUSA

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