First Advisor

Enrique E. Cortez

Date of Publication

Spring 6-2-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Spanish


World Languages and Literatures




Estercilia Simancas (1975- ) -- Criticism and interpretation, Vicenta Maria Siosi Pino -- Criticism and interpretation, Colombian children's literature -- History and criticism, Goajiro Indians -- Colombia, Postcolonialism in literature, Indians in literature



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 106 pages)


The way we read and interpret literature is frequently influenced by factors that operate beyond the scope of the average reader's awareness. In this thesis, selected works by two Wayuu writers, Estercilia Simanca Pushaina and Vicenta Maria Siosi Pino, are analyzed and interpreted in an attempt to unveil some of these behind-the-scenes agents and issues, as well as explore how the stories' classification in the children's literature genre reveals a deep-rooted colonial tendency to infantilize indigenous individuals in contemporary Colombia.

Despite the fact that the two authors, both mestizo women who self-identify with the Wayuu indigenous group of northern Colombia, prefer to write short stories that highlight the child and adolescent experience, the implicit themes and the complexity of their texts reject the "children's story" label that has been imposed on their literature. Furthermore, this thesis discusses how the two authors utilize the colonial trope of the Indian-as-child to their advantage by capsizing the imagery, thus rejecting the original power of the symbol and claiming it as their own.

The first section of this investigation provides certain contextual specifics related to the cultural and social environment of the Wayuu indigenous group, particularly regarding that experienced by women. The second chapter includes an explanation of the impact a book's genre and its "paratext" may have on the reception and interpretation of these texts, and additionally proposes that the colonial practice of infantilizing indigenous people appears in both the assignment of genre as well as in several extratextual elements surrounding the stories. Chapter three offers an in-depth analysis of five selected pieces of the Wayuu authors' writing and explores how the texts may be read on multiple levels. This close reading reveals several examples of overt criticism towards the hegemonic society as well as displays instances of a more subtle rebellion; both explicit and implicit messages effectively expose and protest the current conditions of abuse, oppression and injustice that continue to anguish the Wayuu people.


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