New York as a Site of Female Transgression in Martín Gaite’s Caperucita en Manhattan

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Caperucita en Manhattan (MARTIN GAITE, Carmen. Caperucita en Manhattan, Madrid, Siruela, 1990, 205 pp.), by the Spanish writer Carmen Martín Gaite (1925-2000), is a short novel that narrates ten-year-old Sara Allen’s escape from her parents’ apartment in Brooklyn to explore Manhattan with her eccentric guide Miss Lunatic. [1] As the title reveals, Martín Gaite makes clear references to Little Red Riding Hood; however, despite the author’s nod to the patriarchal fairy tale, Martín Gaite makes an innovative contribution to feminist literature through her revision of a didactic story. [2] In 2004, the Instituto Cervantes of New York celebrated an exhibit entitled Estados Unidos: visto y contado por españoles where Caperucita en Manhattan was placed in the category of children’s literature. This classification evinces a lack of recognition of Martín Gaite’s clever subversion of patriarchal indoctrination and therefore I propose to examine Martín Gaite’s problematization of gender and space in Caperucita en Manhattan. The author inscribes alternative modes of female comportment through the protagonist Sara Allen who gains access to secret passages of the city with the help of Miss Lunatic. By choosing to set her narrative in the island of Manhattan, Martín Gaite distances herself from her native Spain’s legacy of control of women’s mobility. [3] Martín Gaite’s focus on New York serves as a precursor to the current trend where Spanish authors use New York as the subject or backdrop for their narratives.


Universidad de Puerto Rico

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Romanitas: Lenguas y Literaturas Romances