Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Criminal Kinships and Coming of Age: The Portrayal of Lower-Class Youths in Contemporary Brazilian and Colombian Works of Fiction

This thesis addresses how gangs (both organized and informal) at times provide more for lower-class youths than the state and/or contemporary family unit in Brazil and Colombia. I focus primarily on two novels-Arturo Alape's Sangre ajena and Patricia Melo's Inferno-which deal with domestic violence, the absence of worthy biological fathers, and the perpetually reinforced stereotype that a life of crime will yield familial, economic, and social rewards. I also use two films-Victor Gaviria's La Vendedora de rosas and Hector Babenco's Pixote-in order to demonstrate how street kinships can provide previously absent family units as well as a means to daily survival. This thesis incorporates sociological studies of Brazilian and Colombian lower-class youths involved in crime; I use this research as a point with which to compare the depiction of gangs and street children in the said novels and films.