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Forms of DictatorshipPower, Narrative, and Authoritarianism in the Latina/o Novel$
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Jennifer Harford Vargas

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190642853

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190642853.001.0001

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Plotting Justice

Plotting Justice

(p.118) 4 Plotting Justice
Forms of Dictatorship

Jennifer Harford Vargas

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how the novel can plot out fantasies of justice, using Héctor Tobar’s novel The Tattooed Soldier to demonstrate how the novel can challenge mass impunity in the Americas. The novel’s protagonist takes advantage of the chaos of the Rodney King uprisings in Los Angles to shoot and kill the Guatemalan military soldier who murdered his wife and son and who received counterinsurgency training at the United States’ School of the Americas. These diverse acts of rage against institutionalized impunity are comparatively illuminated in the novel via intersecting plot lines, rotating points of view, disruptive flashbacks, iterative events, and shifting geographies. The chapter further unpacks the political and formal valences of plot, arguing that the novel’s structure is at odds with the two main protagonists’ narrative desires. Though the novel’s revenge plot is resolved, the novel does not resolve the larger plot for justice; the chapter ends by considering alternative means of generating social transformation and attaining justice.

Keywords:   The Tattooed Soldier, Héctor Tobar, School of the Americas, Rodney King, plot

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