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Hell or High Water: Migrant Encounters with Nature along the Route in Sanctuary and We Are Not from Here (pp. 9-29)

Lena Elipe Gutiérrez

University of Oviedo


The aim of this paper is to analyze the representation of material and discursive engagements between the migrant population and the natural environment in the Young Adult novels Sanctuary (2020) and We Are Not from Here (2020). It initially takes into account the contributions of material ecofeminism in the understanding of human and nonhuman forms of agency, and then moves on to focus on the novels in their depiction of the character’s relations with the natural landscape along the migratory journey in their flight towards the US-Mexico border. These encounters with natural elements such as water, earth or fire transform the identity of the adolescent protagonists altering their perception of themselves and their position in society. The interchange between diverse forms of nature allows for the emergence of a renewed sense of belonging and self in the characters from the novels. Thus, this paper analyzes the multiple possibilities that arise from the interaction among more-than-human entities and the way in which it positively and negatively affects not only the material bodies of the protagonists but also the identities ascribed to those bodies

Keywords: Latin American migration; ecofeminism; migratory landscape; Young Adult Literature; US-Mexico border


Lena Elipe Gutiérrez is a PhD candidate at the University of Oviedo under the Gender and Diversity program. She has been recently granted a PhD Severo Ochoa fellowship. She completed her English Studies degree and an MA in Gender and Diversity at the University of Oviedo. Her current doctoral research focuses on the representation of the migrant process in Latina Young Adult Literature (YAL).

e-mail addresselipelena@uniovi.es


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