Women and the Nation in Belli and Morejon

Guiterrez Chong demonstrates how women are used as symbols of national identity.
Guiterrez Chong show how women’s bodies are manipulated as national symbols in the arts and are often idealized to create archetypal images of nationalism. While women have been used for nationalist purposes, Guiterez Chong also shows how women themselves imagine the nation.

She also attempts to show how women function I different roles for different types of nationalism. Tehreofroe, women can be both active participants in national struggles and transmitters of national culture.. Yet, it sometimes seems unclear on how women are feeding into previous nationalist cultures or subverting patriarchal nationalism. Can women who write and who make artistic contributions also play a role in supporting patriarachal nationalism? Here it seems that race has a key role to play as to who has also a vested interest in supporting regimes and to supporting or appropriating racialized forms of dominance, even when patriarchal.
In Morejon and Belli’s work, the body works as a geographical, gendered, racialized, and sexualized metaphor for the nation. For Belli, the nation is literally grounded in Itza’s incarnation as an orange tree. While Belli incorporates indigenous women as part of the national project, indigenous women still remain mostly invisible. Indeed, the nationalist project that has women at the forefront is not of the “original? bearers of the land, but that of the mestiza and the Spanish invaders. In this, I am not sure if Belli is trying to create a creolization or a mestiza consciousness so much as an appropriation. In this way, I am reminded of the way in which indigenous groups here are used as figures of noble and brave symbols, yet are often treated as if they are wholly disappeared.
In both Belli and Morejon’s work, identity is constructed in part on a political identity and a consciousness and willingness to participate in a vision of nation-building. The way in which the characters “become? is through a willingness to act and a willingness to be aware of their surroundings. For Belli, Lavinia could have stayed in her sheltered world, but she in fact, becomes through her participation and willingness to engage beyond the parameters of her privilged world. In Morejon’s Amo a mi Amo, the character also becomes more aware of her master’s role in domination and oppression, and therefore, in some ways similar to Lavinia, begins to question her own positon. In Mujer Negra, Morejon presents a history of a woman’s becoming literally through the emancipation of the nation. The references to national heroes such as Maceo function as a way to juxtapose women’s role in nation-building. However, there is also the question of if Morejon’s Mujer negra also challenges not just national identity, but an African diasporic identity. For Belli and Morejon, poetry and narrative are also ways of fashioning national identity through the evocation of female symbols