Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Comparative Literature


Rafael Montano


This thesis aims to contribute to the scholarship on modern female villainy by further exploring the ways in which 20th century female villains are represented as well as the functions they carry out in the text. In this study, I look at Rómulo Gallegos’ doña Bárbara from Doña Bárbara (1929) and Salman Rushdie’s Indira Gandhi from Midnight’s Children (1981). I argue that both villains are a combination of already-existing forms of evil in more recognizable contexts as well as a rejection of and opposition to modern values. Firstly, I examine how the villains both conform and resist the formula of the femme fatale. Secondly, I look at the way they represent national evils. Lastly, I study their relation of opposition to the hero(s) and the ways they mark the boundaries that separate binary oppositions. I conclude that modern representations of female villainy continue to reactivate degrading conceptualizations about womanhood.