Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Spanish Dept.


Rebeca Hey-Colón

Second Advisor

Betty Sasaki

Third Advisor

Lola Bollo-Panadero


Ana Castillo’s novel So Far From God (1993) tells the story of Sofi and her four daughters, Esperanza, Fe, Caridad, and La Loca, as they grow up in Tome, a small town in rural New Mexico. Through a thorough analysis of Sofi as a mother, my thesis proposes the concept of radical motherhood to understand the complex relationship between motherhood and activism, spirituality, and female empowerment developed in Castillo’s novel. Specifically, my analysis demonstrates how la Virgen de Guadalupe, an idealized mother figure in Chicano culture, and la Llorona, a mythologized bad mother, come together in Sofi’s character to catalyze her process of conscientización, or increasing social awareness. I argue that Sofi’s conscientización stems directly from her understanding of each of her daughters’ experiences with environmental injustice, subversive spirituality, and, ultimately death. By closely examining the lives of Esperanza, Fe, Caridad, and La Loca, I emphasize how Sofi is radicalized through her relationships with her children. Overall, my thesis illustrates how Sofi rebels against traditional maternal expectations of obedience and silence to protect and fight for the rights of her daughters. In this way, motherhood represents a path to liberation for Sofi, allowing her to move away from the oppressive, patriarchal, and capitalistic social structures that confront her as a Chicana woman.


Conscientización, subaltern environmentalism, Chicana environmentalism, radical motherhood, Ana Castillo, subversive spirituality