Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
Modern Languages and Literatures
Stephanie A. Mueller, PhD
intersectional feminism, bicultural identities, intergenerational trauma, familial secrecy, victim blaming, sexual assault, mental health, socioeconomic status, gender roles
This thesis explores the social critiques by author Erika L. Sánchez in her debut novel Yo no soy tu perfecta hija mexicana (2017). This is a fictional coming-of-age story of teen Julia Reyes, who is grieving the death of her “perfect” older sister. Sánchez explores intersectional feminism, describing Julia’s struggles with gender roles, power dynamics, race, and socioeconomic status.
Sánchez employs imagery and irony to critique how the judging, silence, and secrecy that younger generations learn from their community permit predatory behavior, sexual assault, and victim-blaming. However, she also shows how keeping secrets can be a necessary evil to protect loved ones. Sánchez also uses the dynamic between Julia and her loving parents to show the relationship between secrets and intergenerational trauma and the impact on parent-daughter relationships. She also highlights the impact of balancing two cultural identities on an individual’s relationships. Julia’s connections with Connor, her white boyfriend, and Amá, her Mexican mother, allegorically represent her two identities. Sánchez alludes that balancing two cultural identities forces Julia to forge a fusion of cultural values, creating a disconnect in her relationships with both parties.
Sánchez spotlights secrecy, intergenerational trauma, and Julia’s struggle with identity; she puts the secrets of the Reyes family out in the open for the world to read and relate to in pursuance of prompting a larger conversation about these stereotypically stigmatized topics.
Vembenil, Tiffany, "Los defectos de la perfección: Un análisis de los temas recurrentes de secretos, traumas intergeneracionales e identidades biculturales en Yo no soy tu perfecta hija mexicana" (2022). Honors Theses. 2603.