Flightless butterflies: the metamorphosis of afro-brazilian women in 20th century Brazilian prose


  • Jennifer Erin IRISH FSU


Afro-Brazilian women, contemporary prose, metamorphosis


This paper analyzes the role of females in contemporary prose written by AfroBrazilian women, who frequently utilize the image of the butterfly to narrate their personal experiences and struggles. By comparing these works with the metamorphic process established in Franz Kafka’s Die Verwandlung, or The Metamorphosis, this paper aims to show the evolution of Afro-Brazilian women in prose from caterpillars to butterflies. While the butterfly is a common symbol of freedom, at the end of each narrative, these women, quite literally, fail to take flight and face violent endings that, in some cases, end in death. To conclude, while utilizing postcolonial theory from Frantz Fanon, this investigation will posit ideas for why these women are unable to achieve complete freedom in Brazilian society. This investigation will demonstrate that, although brutal, these conclusions lend themselves to an ultimate resurrection of AfroBrazilian women, thus contributing to positive change.


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