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Jocay : a novel

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Jocay : a novel

Yale, Ernesto (2008) Jocay : a novel. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Jocay is a South American novel written in English by a South American. The very articulation in English of a fiction that stems from the Spanish-speaking world is in itself a form of fiction, one of the many interacting in the novel. The unnamed first-person narrator grows up in the field of interaction of what is considered official reality with the fictive forces of superstition, religion, politics, dreaming and delusion. Since birth, life has placed him in different borderlands. He, a Mestizo adopted by impoverished former landowners, inhabits the borderland that separates his origins from his present reality, as the people who have adopted him live in a borderland between their former, privileged situation and their present. He learns that Catholic priests have written a false history of his homeland, in which the natives appear as savages in need of religious indoctrination and colonization. But his godmother tells him that a defrocked priest has found evidence of an old civilization that contradicts the fictive official history. The narrator learns that superstition, a powerful traditional fiction, influences the thinking of uneducated people, who refuse to accept the authority of medicine--which, to some extent, is a fiction itself. Affected by the lack of a clear definition of reality, the narrator inhabits a world in which the real coexists with the supernatural and the fantastic. He lives on the seashore, near a cliff with caves at its foot. Old natives believe there are forking paths in the caves, which lead to different versions of one's life. He experiences in this place a fictive correction of his reality: he encounters his birth parents, who apologize for having given him away. All along the novel the inward and subjective first-person narrator expresses his feelings and observations from his own, emotional point of view. This includes a series of paranormal experiences--like that of the cliff caves--in which he finds himself on the boundary between daydreaming and hallucination, while a hidden observer in his mind realizes that what is going on is not real. This means that he does not hallucinate, but experiences paranormal states triggered by sadness, frustration, fear of social contempt, loneliness and other powerful feelings. The fictions that affect the narrator are manifestations of the forces that interact in his post-colonial society. The doctrines of the ruling class and the Catholic church fight against the radical stances of the dissident defrocked priest and the narrator's godmother, an impoverished former landowner who works as a public school teacher, and thinks that all children, regardless of their race and economic condition, have the right to education. When the narrator finishes high school he discovers how the leftist militant students oppose the Establishment. He finds himself, in the 1960s, in a political borderland between those faithful to the Establishment, and those who fight for a socialist political system. In 1963-1964 the narrator works as a volunteer interpreter on board the hospital ship HOPE (Health Opportunity for People Everywhere). His interpretive work on the ship, where he lives in the borderland between the English and Spanish-speaking worlds, confirms to him that language is much more than words. Since early childhood, his girlfriend has been a mute girl, whose gestures he has learned to interpret. He has also had to decipher what a boy who suffered from Down syndrome and lived at his home, tried to tell him. Such interactions improved his communication skills. But his fascination with language does not come from his human relations alone. Since early childhood he has learned to understand his beloved dog's barking and movements, and the voice of nature articulated by the ebb and flow, the sea breeze and the heat of the sand. When his experience on board the HOPE finishes, the narrator travels to the University of Arkansas, where he studies with a scholarship for a year. He then studies during another year at the University of Quito, Ecuador, and believes that he has obtained a scholarship to study in a socialist country. Upon his arrival in Prague he learns that his scholarship is a fiction, and finds himself at the point of deportation. He gets short-term visas while trying to get a scholarship. In his precarious situation his mind becomes a field in which present political realities and fictions interact with those affecting him since early childhood, until he turns over a new leaf. N.B. Jocay, "the home of the fish," is the Amerindian name of Manta, Ecuador.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Yale, Ernesto
Pagination:v, 127 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:English
Date:2008
Thesis Supervisor(s):Iossel, Mikhail
ID Code:975666
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:12
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:40
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