In the following thesis I analyze the search for identity and the development of an awareness of self in two novels by Colombian writer Laura Restrepo - La multitud errante (2001) and Demasiados héroes (2009). The four major characters in these two novels suffer "displacement" and have to construct a new sense of self through reflection. Viktor Frankl and others provide the theoretical background for my investigation of how each of these main characters finds a path to self. The importance of the study is that the analysis demonstrates how physical, social, and emotional displacement leads to suffering. As Frankl argues, the quest for finding meaning in suffering motivates the characters to abandon an identity that is no longer appropriate and to reflect and forge a new independent and unique identity that will allow each to take action and move forward. These contemporary popular Colombian novels are inspired by historical circumstances that led to suffering. Each novel provides a model for moving beyond the paralyzing suffering by following a search for meaning. The search for meaning and the awareness of a transformed identity are explored throughout the narratives. The internal struggles and conflicts lead to resolutions and awareness of change that provides the evidence of the process (in the case of Mateo, Lorenza, 7x3 and Ojos de Agua) toward a concrete but transformed identity for their new circumstances.


Kimberly Contag

Committee Member

James Grabowska

Committee Member

Paula Chiara

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Arts and Humanities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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