Telling Evasions: Postwar El Salvador in the Short Fiction of Claudia Hernández


  • Misha Kokotovic University of California—San Diego


Claudia Hernández, El Salvador, narrativa salvadoreña contemporánea, alegoría política


In many of the stories included in Mediodía de frontera, individuals are left to deal privately, on their own, with the legacy of wartime violence. The persistent effects of the disappearance and torture practiced by the Salvadoran state during the war are hidden within the domestic sphere and depoliticized by making them a private rather than public responsibility. In some stories, individuals’ attempts to internalize the costs of restoring peace without addressing the structural violence that led to war, lead to acts of self-mutilation and even suicide. Much as in Kafka, the allegories in Hernández’s stories are rendered so literally that they disrupt the whole concept of an allegory as the structure that connects two narratives or sets of ideas. That structure in itself has something to do with unknowing: if one half of the allegory is dispensed with, if all that is left is the concrete part and not the abstraction it refers to, then half the structure of meaning that makes an allegory work is lost. That lost half has been forgotten, so to speak, or unknown, but visibly so in Hernández’s short stories, which enact such unknowing of the causes and agents of wartime violence ironically, exposing what is being forgotten by calling attention to the silence surrounding it

Author Biography

Misha Kokotovic, University of California—San Diego

Misha Kokotovic completed his B.A. in Anthropology at the University of Illinois in 1983 and his Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese at Stanford University in 1997. He is Associate Editor of the online journal A Contracorriente: Una revista de historia social y literatura de América Latina/A Journal of Social History and Literature in Latin America.



How to Cite

Kokotovic, M. (2014). Telling Evasions: Postwar El Salvador in the Short Fiction of Claudia Hernández. A Contracorriente: Una Revista De Estudios Latinoamericanos, 11(2), 53–75. Retrieved from



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