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Emily DiFilippo. "Motionless: Disability and Snow White in Narratives of the Spanish Crisis (2005-2015)"

Event Type
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Lucy Ellis Lounge (FLB 1080)
Jan 25, 2018   4:00 - 5:00 pm  
Originating Calendar
Spanish and Portuguese Calendar

The Snow White narrative, tracing its origin to European folkloric tradition and put into writing by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, has inspired a myriad of artistic expressions. Nonetheless, it is not often remarked upon that this is a story of disability, of a young woman deprived of movement and speech as a result of poisoning by her jealous stepmother. This paper examines three iterations of the story that emerged from Spain in the years of global financial crisis: Belén Gopegui’s 2007 novel, El padre de Blancanieves; Pablo Berger’s 2012 film, Blancanieves; and Marta Sanz’s 2014 short story, “Las palabras que ensucian el ruido del mundo,” illustrated by photographer Clemente Bernad. The crisis has left Spain besieged with unemployment, uncertainty and civil unrest. It seems unsurprising, therefore, that a story about a poison that brings paralysis would capture imaginations during this time. In each of these works, I ask how differences in ability as well as gender and sexuality work together to determine the paradigm of viable citizenship in this dire economic climate. By using a known story to imagine new ways of being in community, these works exemplify how culture can lead the way to answering urgent social questions in times of upheaval and despair.


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