Reconsidering the Patagonian Worker Movements of the 1920s: Francisco Coloane’s and Luis Sepúlveda’s Rebellious Chilotes

  • Rachel VanWieren National University in Los Angeles, California
Keywords Francisco Coloane, Luis Sepúlveda, Osvaldo Bayer, Patagonia, Chiloé


In an effort to take into account the diversity possible within historical narrative, this article analyzes portrayals of the Patagonian strikes of the 1920s and their ensuing repression in texts of varying genres by Osvaldo Bayer, Bruce Chatwin, Francisco Coloane, and Luis Sepulveda. While all of these versions of the events favor the workers' movement over the land and business owners, Sepulveda's and Coloane's works are unique in that they foreground the most forgotten individuals who took part in this conflict, those from the southern Chilean island of Chiloe. Coloane and Sepulveda give these migrant wokers agency by making them central figures, focusing on their personal experiences, and showing them attempting to resist the abuses of the ranch system. This differs radically from the persistent stereotype perpetuated in other texts of the Chilotes as passive followers who allowed the strike leaders to blindly lead them to their deaths.

Author Biography

Rachel VanWieren, National University in Los Angeles, California
Rachel VanWieren is an assistant professor of Spanish at National University in Los Angeles, California. She earned her PhD in Hispanic Languages and Literatures at UCLA and a Magister en Literatura from the Universidad de Chile. Her research focuses on representations of southern Patagonian workers in Chilean and Argentine literature and film.
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