Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

William Garcia




fiction, historical revisionism, writing, Cuba


Through the analysis of literary work of by Cuban author Reinaldo Arenas, this thesis explores how works of fiction attempt to rewrite and reconstruct history. With his short stories from Termina el desfile (1981) and his autobiographical text Antes que anochezca (1992), this text examines how the treatment by the regime of Fidel Castro influenced his writing, work, and life. As an openly gay dissenter of the government, Arenas was marginalized, even incarcerated, in Cuba and ultimately exiled to the United States. However, it was not until he achieved physical distance from Cuba that he gained the freedom and stability to create literature that carefully examined, criticized, and rewrote the society of revolutionary Cuba. Specifically, this work examines Arenas’ texts with particular attention to the act of writing itself. Placing these texts in the context of Cuban history, I analyze how the transformation of the socio-political landscape and the restrictive mistreatment of intellectuals in post-revolutionary Cuban society influenced his work.Termina el desfile looks at the start and the end of the revolution, showing a distinct change in how Arenas views the events; in the first chapter he supports the revolution from his position in Cuba, but by the final chapter he criticizes it from his new vantage point in New York. Antes que anochezca is an autobiographical novel that traces the life of Arenas, concluding in a diatribe against Castro that highlights the resentment against how his country treated him and motivated him to write, and rewrite its history.