Date of Award

6-2015

Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

First Advisor

Joseph Garcia

Language

English

Keywords

cultural, writers, american, identities

Abstract

Puerto Rican and Dominican writers in the United States express the human cost of displacement of migrants and immigrants to a new socio-cultural environment where they face discrimination, racism, labor exploitation or governmental abandonment. Many of these writers explore cultural identity of their communities and are questioning the viability of the “American Dream.” The American Dream is connected to the prevailing, mainstream social expectation of assimilation, but these communities come to the United States when the dynamics of globalization facilitates maintaining close ties with the countries of origin, facilitating the construction of transnational identities. Chapter One concentrates on Puerto Rican writers such as Jesus Colón, Nicholasa Mohr, Pedro Pietri, Sandra Maria Esteves, and Miguel Piñero, all of whom question one’s own identity by revealing the impact of transnational migration on the cultural identities of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. mainland. Chapter Two focuses on Dominican writers including Franklin Gutiérrez, Julia Alvarez, Junot Diaz, and Loida Martiza Pérez. Alvarez and Diaz demonstrate their awareness of gender and racial dynamics; they create characters that face discrimination and have to overcome social discrimination while straddling and reconciling two cultural worlds. Contrastingly, Gutiérrez and Pérez’s narratives try to“mediate” between two worlds, but are marred by hesitation and lack of assertiveness when dealing with issues of class, gender, and ethnicity. The literary production examined not only serves as a document that describes the experiences of migrants and immigrants, but also opens a window that illuminates our own American history. Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in this country are redefining their cultural and national identities and, in the process, detonate a review of both our dominant cultural identities and of our history as a nation. In closing, I offer a glimpse of Bodega Dreams (2000) by Ernesto Quiñonez as an illustration of how U.S. Latino writers in the new millennium seem to embrace without hesitation a transnational, hybrid cultural identity while critically contesting and revising the mainstream national narratives of the American Dream, community, education, and citizenship. Quiñonez represents life in the barrio, a place he and his community call home.

Share

COinS