Fragmentation and wholeness in the novels of Luisa Josefina Hernandez and Gerlind Reinshagen
Themes of fragmentation and wholeness are the twentieth-century version of the eternal questions of disconnection and the search for unity inherent in the human condition. Where the literature of earlier ages has posited the existence of unitary selfhood, that of the present century sees a breakdown of the belief in even the possibility of psychic indivisibility.Gerlind Reinshagen and Luisa Josefina Hernandez are two of the many authors who deal with questions of fracturing and the search for convergence in their novels. Although Reinshagen is German and Hernandez is from Mexico, the lives of the two writers show interesting personal parallels, including greater renown as playwrights than as novelists.This dissertation traces the themes of wholeness and fragmentation in two works by Gerlind Reinshagen and in three by Luisa Josefina Hernandez When contrasted with the understanding of wholeness offered by several scholars, Hernandez is revealed as a proponent of the view of wholeness as equilibrium, which is attainable either through self-actualization, or in combination with another person. She also posits a macro level of balance embracing ever greater groups of people. Reinshagen, in contrast, does not view wholeness as achievable, but rather, as approachable at best, and demonstrates in her novels how the formation of open communities allows the individual access to that degree of integration possible today.The question of the relative obscurity of these two novelists is also addressed, as is the difference in their reception as novelists and as playwrights.