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ERIC Number: EJ992473
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2133
The Development of Child Subjectivity in "La lengua de las mariposas"
Ryan, Lorraine
Hispania, v95 n3 p448-460 Sep 2012
Jose Luis Cuerda's film "La lengua de las mariposas" is set in rural Galicia in the immediate lead-up to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. It portrays the tender relationship between a Republican schoolteacher, Don Gregorio, and a boy named Moncho. Upon the Nationalist capture of the town, the young Moncho hurls stones at his friend, but while doing so, he shouts the word "espiritrompa," thereby referring to a type of butterfly. This final scene of the film has proved to be theoretically contentious, as some theorists alternatively interpret it as the triumph of violence and the end of Moncho's childhood, while others consider it a coded message of complicity. This article substantiates the latter view by tracing and analyzing the development of Moncho's interpretative ability, a task that involves a rereading of the film's key scenes. I contend that Moncho evidences throughout the film a capacity to contest established social mores, and to enact both subtle and direct displays of interpretative agency, an ability that reconceives childhood as a relatively autonomous developmental phase. Under this trajectory of thought, the final scene marks Moncho's transformation into a sophisticated and skilled agent of not only signification, but also of the higher-order skill of discursive resistance. (Contains 3 notes.)
American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, Inc. 900 Ladd Road, Walled Lake, MI 48390. Tel: 248-960-2180; Fax: 248-960-9570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Spain