The myth of the Amazon woman in Latin American literatures and cultures.
AuthorDewey, Janice Laraine.
KeywordsIndian women -- South America
Matriarchy -- Mythology -- South America
Women -- Mythology.
AdvisorRivero, Eliana S.
Babcock, Barbara A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study explores evocations of the concept of the "Amazon Woman" and her female tribe, from cross-continental prehistoric sources to contemporary ritual practice within native amerindian belief systems of the rain forests of South America. The designation "Amazon" for the world's largest river has often been considered a grand "mistake" made by sixteenth century explorers; imaginative portrayals of Amazons had invigorated the reports of numerous early travelers, including Marco Polo, Columbus, and Hernan Cortes. This analysis establishes the importance of a reconsideration of the Amazon "mistake," or the idea that Europeans were projecting the fantastical worlds and dramatic personae of classical Greek legends and later romances of chivalry onto the realms of New World daily experience. The deep roots of prehistoric and historic civilizations carry the fragmentary genesis of matristic views of the world--the Mother, deified as Warrior, is a constant sign and symbol interplaying within the semiotics of the Amazon. The amazons of the New World were both ancient sister kin and actual tribal homosocial units who played vital roles in sacred religious beliefs and clan organization. I read the corpus of chronicles on, and studies of, the question of Amazons through a multi-faceted and multidisciplinary lense: archeology, history, anthropology, ethnography, mythology, literary criticism, and the sciences all intertwine to provide a more wholistic view of the subject. The text of the Amazons is clarified here by the consideration of prehistoric fragment upon fragment, reuniting five tribal narratives from the rain forests of South America, which reconstitutes the overall corpus of the Amazon mythos in Latin America. An autobiographical opening juxtaposes the continuum between the personal and cultural microstructures of my own approach to this subject with the macrostructures of the socio-symbolic order generally, and keeps a double focus constantly at play throughout the entire analytical text. Finally, Amazons are defined as evocations of natural phenomena and the diversity of animal and human behaviors as represented in mythical, cultural, and social spheres. This thesis comprises a literary analytical process I define as "ecotextuality": the reading of biotic diversity through its multiple languages, not excluding the "I" of the reader/writer.
Degree ProgramSpanish and Portuguese