Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Spanish & Portuguese

First Advisor

Juan Pablo Dabove

Second Advisor

Peter Elmore

Third Advisor

Leila Gómez

Fourth Advisor

Tania Martuscelli

Fifth Advisor

Robert Buffington


My thesis sketches the emergence and developments of the representations on the sicario in the contemporary Colombian novels (1988-2012). Specifically, I analyze the following six novels: El sicario (1988) by Bahamón Dussán, El pelaíto que no duró nada (1991) by Gaviria, La virgen de los sicarios (1994) by Vallejo, Rosario Tijeras (1999) by Franco, Sangre ajena (2000) by Alape, and Nadie es eterno (2012) by López. The novels provide new points of view of the urban violence. One of these points of view is to depict the sicario as an unequivocal picture. My thesis’ contribution is to present a cartography of the literary conditions (and in lesser extent, a map of the historical circumstances) where the fictional representations of sicario come from. In this way, I aspire to offer a new comprehension of the portrayal of the sicario, which has usually been solely linked to and evaluated in accordance to its real referent, or it has been underestimated by becoming a commodity (thus, making a sicario a character with less literary relevance).

In the first chapter, I examine how the sicario is depicted as a symptom of the sick nation. For first time, the sicario is an assassin similar to, but different from, the fatal main characters in the novels about the bipartisan conflict (La Violencia). In the second chapter, I examine how part of the imaginary of the sicarios emerges from the culture of the juvenile violence. It is important to observe that in the sicario novel the subjects of violence start to narrate their own life stories. In the third chapter, I analyze the emergence of two representations of the sicario that are derived from the melodrama and decadentism. In the first case, the narrator clings to the ruinous past that Rosario represents. In the other case, loving the sicarios is equivalent to embracing the decadent reality of Colombia. Finally, in the fourth chapter, I investigate the intersection between novels on drug barons and novels on hitmen. In this intersection, for first time, we can appreciate the depiction of a sicario as a character who aspires to the maximum power.