ABSTRACT

This chapter investigates the queer features of Elena Fortún’s New Girl character, Celia, as she appeared in Celia: Lo que dice (What Celia Says) from 1929. Another contemporary girl character, Leonor Serrano’s Diana, is used as a comparison to highlight Fortún’s foothold in reform pedagogy. The comparison is also used to underscore how Fortún, with her Celia character, goes farther than Serrano in sketching out an independent individual striving for self-determination. The destabilizing characteristics of Celia will be compared with some of the main premises of present-day queer pedagogy. Fortún used a set of narrative devices in her portrayal of Celia as a queer New Girl. First is the conflict of expectations between Celia and adults, second is Celia’s fantasy world, and finally, we have the queer bonds of solidarity among children, animals, and elderly people. In her rendering of Celia, Fortún managed to create a literary portrait of the unlimited possibilities that children create for self-determination through play and fantasy. The conflict between Celia’s deviant behavior and adult normativity that runs throughout the tales underscores the girl as a subaltern identity, but it also destabilizes adult power in a way that opens up an interpretation of Celia as a queer character.