Children of Fate: Childhood, Class, and the State in Chile, 1850-1930. NARA MILANICH: Duke University Press, 2009

Patrick Barr Melej


Growing up with my Chilean grandmother in the household, I often helped her with the laundry. From time to time, after our washed clothes had cycled in the dryer, we would discover a sock without its match. It was a huacho, she would say. It was alone and in need of accompaniment; it was, for one reason or another, orphaned. Imbued with both derogatory and paternalistic hues, the term, as Nara Milanich notes, is rooted in the concept of family and, specifically, the lack of family, and captures the “cultural significance of natal ties” in relation to illegitimacy and, more generally speaking, to children who were “unmoored from natal kinship” (p. 16).


Patrick Barr-Melej , Chile, NARA MILANICH,

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