Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, arguably the most famous Brazilian author, has been studied perhaps more than any other figure in Brazilian literature. Because Machado's novels are so exceptional, many of his good short stories have been neglected by scholars, particularly those categorized by some as “fantastic.” This study attempts to fill that gap by analyzing the most prominent female characters in Machado's fantastic fiction. After providing a brief overview of the term fantastic and explaining how the stories used qualify as fantastic, this study identifies several tropes into which their female characters fit. Chapter 1: The Femme Fragile analyzes the tropes of woman as foil for rational man and woman as manipulable possession, while Chapter 2: The Femme Fatale examines the tropes of woman as siren and woman as fantastic other. Although these tropes seem to expose Machado's misogyny, in reality they function as his dramatization of the erroneous chauvinist thinking of nineteenth-century Brazil. Machado employs these tropes only to subvert them and the patriarchal thinking on which they are based, allowing his readers to come to more productive ways of seeing gender relations in Brazil.
College and Department
Humanities; Spanish and Portuguese
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Jones, Jordan Benjamin, "Fantastic Sexism? Subverting the Femme Fatale and Femme Fragile in the Fantastic Fiction of Machado de Assis" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 5523.
Machado de Assis, fantastic, women, tropes