Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Hispanic & Luso-Brazilian Literatures & Languages


Araceli Tinajero

Subject Categories

Education | English Language and Literature | Environmental Sciences | Latin American Literature


Etnotexto, Figurative Language, Latin American Ecocriticism, Local Authority, Multisensory ecopoetics, Orality


This dissertation focuses on Latin America's selvatic territories. It argues for prevailing ecological principles as revealed in the selected works of three twentieth-century Latin American story-writers and poets. They portray rainforests as multisensorial lands that encompass bewildering events from which a principle of local authority emerges. This analysis is based on Francisco Coloane's short stories "Tierra del Fuego" and "Cabo de Hornos," Rosario Castellanos'Balún Canán, and Luis Sepúlveda's Un viejo que leía novelas de amor. Such phenomenology is also present on the environmental poetics from Marosa di Giorgio, Cecilia Vicuña, and Leonel Lienlaf linked to emotions of fear, urgency, and loss.

This thesis argues that all these texts are facilitated by etnopoetics while entailing a multisensory landscape orchestrated by figurative language, which suggests a storyteller addressing universal traits of human culture. The selected poetry evokes a distinctive multisensory poetic universe. This interpretation, which suggests its creators' interrelated rural upbringing and indigenous ways, operates as a scaffold that evokes reciprocity, a common origin, and promotes a sense of inclusion and belonging to the land. It also reflects phenomenological aspects that pertain to ecology as a phenomenon and particularly to Latin American ecological ethics.

The first chapter of this thesis "Paradigmas, disciplinas y conceptos pertinentes a la selva simbólica y a la selva simbiótica" focuses on the symbolic selva as shown by selected fiction and poetry in Latin American classics. It examines how this aesthetic projection results from literary and historical paradigms that have played a role on its simulated portrayal. This section is followed by present considerations pertaining rainforest protection initiatives and worldwide debates. Its last part features a critical foundation for the study incorporating concepts such as "storied landscape," "Inner landscape and outer landscape" etnopoetics, orality, phenomenology, sensoriality, figurative language, ecology, ecocriticism, and bioregionalism.

The second chapter, examines how both short stories feature a functional reconstruction of language around the phenomenological depth of the selva. The central argument is that bewildering events and a principle of local authority arise as the characters are engulfed by an overwhelming Nature. This chapter analyzes how these works reveal a storyteller who evokes a sensorial bioregion and uses figurative language, to disclose the gap between his attunement with the territory and the dissonant values of the selva 's European dwellers, who are motivated by personal gain. This chapter reveals how these environmental tales reveal Nature's inherent value as an animated region that knows no confines between humans and non-humans.

The third chapter, analyzes Castellano's descentered narrative as econarrative. It argues that it orchestrates an elegy to nature that dissipates as the Selva Lacandona manifests itself as wind, fire, and rain. The multi-sensorial, phenomenological attributes of the Selva Lacandona, reflected by a narrator who uses figurative language, are addressed as unifying aspects of Castellano's work. Several bicultural, postcolonial, feminist critical viewpoints including etnopoetics are discussed to show that these perspectives alone are not enough to convey Balún Canán as an environmental novel. This chapter argues that the astonishing, bewildering events that convey a principle of local authority are provided in this novel by Nature itself.

The fourth chapter, addresses the phenomenology of the Amazonian territories as presented by Luis Sepúlveda's novel. From a postcolonial viewpoint, this chapter identifies a narrative featuring figurative language, a multisensory territory, and bewildering events revealing those who are and who are not attuned to the land. This chapter elaborates on how Sepúlveda's depiction of an unembellished bare tropical forest deconstructs literary assumptions of the selva as Utopia. This chapter argues that the Shuar, an indigenous group that has never been colonized, articulate Nature's principles of local authority.

The final chapter of the dissertation is based on Lawrence Buell's definition of environmental poetics. This chapter evaluates their poetics and how its environmental aspects are also correlated with emotion. Marosa di Giorgio's natural ensemble is often intercepted by a sense of fear that coexists with the environmental principles of her poems. Cecilia Vicuña's denunciatory ways encompass a multisensory performance in response to urgent ecological problems, transmitting an array of feelings. Lienlaf's poetic universe conforms to a unity within the land. As territory is the basin of the Mapuches' memory and ontology, such a response is unequivocal. A sense of loss overlaps his environmental poems in a heartfelt reaction to his people's sense of displacement. This chapter argues for a Latin American ecopoetics that encompasses feelings and a multisensory landscape correlating with and transcending Buells' definition of an environmental poetics.