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Policing IntimacyLaw, Sexuality, and the Color Line in Twentieth-Century Hemispheric American Literature$
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Jenna Grace Sciuto

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781496833440

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2022

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496833440.001.0001

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“We are Trawling in Silences Here”

“We are Trawling in Silences Here”

Race, Sexuality, and Unnarratable Histories in Literary Depictions of Dominican Dictatorship

(p.134) Chapter 5 “We are Trawling in Silences Here”
Policing Intimacy

Jenna Grace Sciuto

University Press of Mississippi

Writing in the 1990s and 2000s about Rafael Trujillo’s reign (1930–1961), Julia Alvarez, Junot Díaz, and Nelly Rosario reveal how the control over sexuality—and particularly over women, girls, and marginalized bodies—plays out during a dictator’s regime. Approaching this history from different angles, the writers demonstrate that the reach of the violence and predatorial sexuality modeled by Trujillo extended to affect not only individual lives and experiences, but also families and entire communities. Trujillo’s totalitarian regime was a threat to love, sexuality, and family formations, as portrayed through various characters’ experiences, from the real-life Mirabel sisters in Alvarez’s novel to the fictional Cabral family in Díaz’s book, as well as through the aesthetics and form of the novels. Through the formal affordances of literature, we can explore histories in a fuller way than is enabled by more official accounts.

Keywords:   The Dominican Republic, Dictator Rafael Trujillo, Julia Alvarez, Junot Díaz, Nelly Rosario

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