Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in English, Literature



Major Advisor

Dora Ramírez-Dhoore, Ph.D.


La bruja and la curandera are recurring, important figures in New Mexican culture, folkloric history, and literature and they carry with them the fear of the unknown that the Spanish surely encountered upon entering the American southwest in the late 1500s to early 1600s. La bruja is a part of the emergence of the culture of divisions that inhabits New Mexico, thus her image as a resistor to the effects of colonization have been transformed over time to be synonymous with evil and the devil. She has been ostracized from her indigenous culture and forced to fall in line with her European label of a witch. This thesis analyzes the cultural significance of la bruja and la curandera in the postcolonial American southwest. Using Homi Bhabha’s theory of the ‘unhomed,’ this thesis examines stories from Women’s Tales from the New Mexico WPA: La Diabla a Pie (published 2000), Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima (1972), and Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Hummingbird’s Daughter (2005). By analyzing these three texts, this study sets out to examine la bruja and la curandera in New Mexican history, folklore, and literature from the colonization of the American southwest in the 15th and 16th centuries to the role of la bruja and la curandera in the 21st century.