Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

William García




violence, abuse, dysfunction, family


This thesis explores the representation of the Mexican family in plays from the three major generations of playwrights in contemporary Mexican theater. These generations are the Generation of 1950, the New Dramaturgy, and the New Theater. The family is a central unit in society, and so it is a recurring theme in many plays. Playwrights use their daily lives as inspiration for their works, and family is a constant in daily life; no matter where one lives, the family is an unavoidable part of their life. All audiences can relate to problems and issues that families experience, and so playwrights can instantly connect to their audiences and readers. The plays discussed are Los huéspedes reales (1957) by Luisa Josefina Hernández, Pastel de zarzamora (1982) by Jesús González Dávila, and Los choros (2011) by Hugo Salcedo. In each play the family is represented as a dysfunctional unit. The two dysfunctions discussed in the chapters are the lack of communication and the dynamics of violence and abuse. It is not always clear whether one dysfunction is a cause or effect of the other because the two are so inextricably linked. Many of the dysfunctions arise as a result from the pressure the characters in the plays feel to fit into a traditional, heteronormative society. The lack of communication and the dynamics of violence and abuse are present in each play, but they manifest themselves in different issues. In Los huéspedes reales Cecilia, the daughter, has an incestuous love for her father which serves as a sort of psychological abuse for him. She is supposed to wed Juan Manuel, but never expresses her dissatisfaction for this marriage in the hopes that her father will come to her rescue. In Pastel de zarzamora the issues stem from René bringing his boyfriend home to unsuspecting parents. His father, Reynaldo, is homophobic, and cannot accept that he has failed as a parent according to the heteronormative patriarchal society in which they live. Homophobia is also the main issue in Los choros, but this family exemplifies a lack of communication where each member of the family lives a completely separate life from everyone else. It is possible to use the families in each play as an allegory for contemporary Mexican society; the dysfunctions ailing the family can be understood as a critical reflection of society. It is concluded that once Mexico abandons its heteronormative values, like homophobia or the patriarchal power structure, then the family may come to be represented in a better light in Mexican dramaturgy.