Motherhood and maternity are common themes in Nicaraguan author Gioconda Belli’s (1948–) writings, but in Waslala (2006) her exploration of the mother figure dives further into what a relationship with such a figure provides. Through a development narrative, parallel to that of female Bildungsroman and quest-romance, the protagonist, Melisandra, grows in maternal history and culture in her search for mother. This thesis uses the theories of Carol Christ, Dana Heller, Joseph Campbell and others to see Melisandra’s odyssey through the lens of a quest narrative. Along this journey, two maternal figures play an important role in preparing her for her climactic reunion with her own biological mother. They both teach and give examples of female strength and authority that Melisandra then emulates. As Melisandra discovers and forms her own identity, she finds herself in a pivotal position that intertwines her quest with that of her community’s. Upon leaving the utopian Waslala where she meets her mother, it becomes apparent that the mother has become central for both Melisandra’s personal identity and that of her community. Ultimately, the trajectory of Melisandra’s journey shows the archetype and figure of the mother as paramount for growth, development, and self-actualization.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Shiraki, Karisa Saori, "Woman Seeking Mother: The Heroine’s Journey in Waslala by Gioconda Belli" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 8428.
Gioconda Belli, female quest, Bildungsroman, mother, maternal culture, identity