Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2016

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

English

Number of Pages

96

First Advisor

Dillon, Steven

Abstract

The Chicano movement, which rose to prominence during the 1960s, was a cultural and political movement that sought to discuss the history, identity, politics, and culture of Chicano and Mexican Americans. Although the Chicano/ Latinx-American literary tradition after that time is fairly well understood, I look at the precursors and pioneers of Latinx/Chicanx literature in the 1950s. During this time television programs like I Love Lucy featured Latinxs in order to promote unity and the mutual understanding of cultures. Latinxs were often presented in a positive manner; however this did not reflect the perceptions of most Americans. This thesis analyzes the ethnic bildungsroman to look at the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, and gender in Latinx-American representations and identity in Pedro Juan Soto’s Spiks (1956), Pocho (1959) by Jose Antonio Villarreal and Stephana (1959) by Joseph Foster. I use Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands (1987) as a lens to analyze how Latinx protagonists respond to societal pressures as they grow up and start assimilate to American values. I begin by discussing themes of gender, migration, cultural resistance, and Puerto Rican identity in Spiks to develop an assimilative ethnic bildungsroman plot. Then, I draw upon Latinx/Chicanx critical theory in order to compare the way that assimilation and acculturation challenges gender dynamics in both Pocho and Stephana, the latter text written by a mainstream white author whose works marked him as a social commentator on Mexican-American assimilation problems.

Components of Thesis

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