Themes and Meanings
Corregidora is both an exploration of how sexual and other relationships between men and women can become a battleground for domination and an examination of the ways in which violence done by one generation can continue to inflict itself on future generations.
Throughout the novel, the stories of Ursa’s ancestors are told repeatedly in flashbacks and are identified by the use of italics. These are not the only italicized sections, however; many of Ursa’s memories of Mutt are also presented in italics. This emphasizes the confusion of Ursa’s feelings toward Mutt and Corregidora. This confusion is exacerbated by Mutt’s insulting and abusive actions toward Ursa, actions that recall Corregidora’s treatment of Great Gram and Gram. Even when Ursa and Mutt meet after many years, the sex act between them that closes the novel has an element of hostility that makes Ursa begin to reflect on the inevitability of antagonism between men and women in a sexual relationship.
The issue of slavery is not nearly so thoroughly investigated in Corregidora, but it is the relationship that establishes the pattern for Ursa’s understanding of male-female relationships. Great Gram and Gram were owned by Corregidora, and thus he had control over them. Great Gram’s sexuality (which Corregidora also tried to control) was the only ability she could use as a weapon against him. Because the records of Corregidora’s Brazilian prostitution...
(The entire section is 464 words.)