“Cadê meu anzol?”

An Interpretive Reading of Santa Rita Pescadeira in Torto arado

  • Johnny Lorenz Montclair State University
Keywords: Itamar Vieira Junior, Jarê, Herbert Marcuse, Christina Sharpe, Afro- Brazilian literature


In the third section of Torto arado by Itamar Vieira Junior, an encantada, an Afro-Brazilian spirit being, takes over as narrator; her name is Santa Rita Pescadeira. Torto arado depicts the struggle of twentieth-century tenant farmers, and some critics, identifying the novel as one concerned with social justice and agrarian reform, find fault with the encantada’s intervention, understanding it as a “magical” solution. I argue that the book’s third section is not an escape into mysticism. Torto arado takes place—and here I borrow terminology from Christina Sharpe—in the enduring “wake” of the Middle Passage, in the “still unfolding aftermaths” of slavery. I approach the figure of Santa Rita Pescadeira as a powerful example of Herbert Marcuse’s conceptualization of the return of the repressed.