Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

In Search of the Female Bandit in the Novel of the Mexican Revolution: The Case of la Pintada

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2012), 89, (7), 721–736.

Abstract

In bandit novels from Latin America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries there is a notable lack of female bandit figures, both real and imagined (especially in leading roles). However, the character la Pintada, in Mariano Azuela's seminal novel of the Mexican Revolution, Los de abajo (1915), defies the notion that women bandits did not exist or that if they did they were merely followers of male bandit chiefs. A forceful character, Pintada embodies the role of the soldada, as she actively engages in raids, rather than conform to the soldadera stereotype, that of the woman who accompanied the soldiers in their campaigns in a servile role. Pintada, a natural leader, challenges band chief Demetrio, and leaves without punishment after committing murder. This paper explores the idea that rather than being one of the Revolution's victims, Pintada can be seen to be one of its beneficiaries, a brash northerner representing the new modern Mexico that would wrest control in the post-revolutionary period.

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Baker, Pascale