Catholicism and Magical Realism: Religious Syncretism in the Works of Contemporary Women Writers
The previous chapters of this study have examined the various ways in which Catholicism not only intersects with other forms of difference—gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, class—but also acts as a difference unto itself, as a means, in these girlhood narratives, of considering notions of selfhood and identity. This chapter offers a slight departure from that strategy. Here I inquire more closely into one aspect of the continuum of Catholic literature I established in the introduction: the subgenre of Catholic literature that addresses notions of mystery and the supernatural. This is no minor category of the genre; Thomas Woodman asserts,“Popular Catholicism is a religion full of the supernatural, and popular Catholic fiction often works out the great drama [between good and evil…] by means of miracles, visions, saints, angels and devils” (111). Yet, scant work has been done to examine the ways in which Catholicism functions in magical realist texts. This chapter investigates the overlappings of Catholic literature with the modes of writing we consider magical realist to explore the meaning of magic in contemporary Catholic literature by women.
KeywordsYoung Girl Female Character Catholic Church Mexican American Woman Catholic Priest
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