The Role of the Internet in the Endurance of “La Llorona” as a Liminal Archetypal Monster in Modern Latin American Society

David Ramírez Plascencia

Abstract


Monsters are liminal beings that not only portray fears,  proscriptions and collective norms, they are also embedded with special qualities that scare and, at the same time, captivate  people’s inquisitiveness. Monstrosities are present in practically all cultures; they remain alive, being passed from one generation to another, often altering their characteristics over time. Modernity and science have not ended people’s belief in paranormal beings; to the contrary, they are still vivid and fresh, with contemporary societies updating and incorporating them into daily life. This paper analyses one of the most well-known legends of Mexico and Latin America, the ghost of “La Llorona” (the weeping woman). The legend of La Llorona can be traced to pre-Hispanic cultures in Mexico, however, the presence of a phantasmagoric figure chasing strangers in rural and urban places has spread across the continent, from Mexico and Central America, to Latino communities in the United States of America. The study of this liminal creature aims to provide a deep sense of her characteristics – through spaces, qualities and meanings; and to furthermore understand how contemporary societies have adopted and modernised this figure, including through the internet. The paper analyses different  versions of the legend shared across online platforms and are analysed using Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s (1996) theoretical tool described in his work Monster Culture (Seven Theses), which demonstrates La Llorona’s liminal qualities.

Keywords


social media, La Llorona legend; liminality; paranormal; Latin America; folklore; gender studies

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.25120/etropic.16.1.2017.3567

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