Department or Program



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.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Dillon, Steven

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2016

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


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