“A Mexican Medea”: Challenging Western Literary Tropes in Cherríe L. Moraga’s The Hungry Woman

  • Ryann Anderson


In her 1995 play The Hungry Woman, Cherríe L. Moraga imagines a new future for the Chicano civil rights movement of the 1960s. In her dystopia, national borders are strict and Medea is exiled (along with her lesbian partner and son) for engaging in a homosexual relationship; however, Moraga juxtaposes this Latin American movement against the backdrop of Euripides’s Medea and alludes to the Gothic trope of the mad ex-wife. This juxtaposition of Western allusions and Latin American mythology reflects the play’s overarching themes of patriarchal resistance and the fight to keep culture alive. In this essay, I argue that the play uses Euripides and the Gothic to challenge Western literary traditions and subsequently mirror the patriarchal binaries imposed on Moraga’s characters.