HomeLIKHAvol. 15 no. 1 (1995)

A Postcolonial reading of Isabel Allende’s Eva Luna

Gerardo Zaragosa Torres

Discipline: Literature



The central character of the novel uses both oral and written narratives in her discourses. Eva loves telling and writing stories, just as Allende's novel proves that fusing the literary traditions of the colonizer and the colonial is possible.


When the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors settled in Central and South America in the fifteenth century, they brought their culture with them. The peoples of Latin America were introduced to the ways of their colonial masters, including their language and literature. "For centuries thereafter," observes Anne Fremantle in her Preface to Latin-American Literature Today. "Latin-American writers looked to Europe for their models, just as the New England writers looked to London" (1977: I). Towards the latter part of the nineteenth century, however, writers turned to their literary traditions and broke with their colonial models. The publication of Jose Hernandez's Martin Fierro, an epic on gaucho life in Argentina in 1872, signalled this break. This work was "among other things a protest against a Europeanized, urbanized government's treatment of rural dwellers" (Seymour-Smith 1975:87). It exhibited very little of the features of the literature of the colonial masters. Since then Latin-American writers and readers have begun to favor their literary heritage.