Writing Chicana identity: Strategies of resistance and reformulation

2003 2003

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Abstract (summary)

My dissertation addresses the way Chicana writers are reformulating and revising stereotypes that have been defined by patriarchal discourse in literature, film, and websites. Images and cultural myths such as La Malinche, La Virgen de Guadalupe, curanderas, and others have often been misrepresented socially, historically, and politically; therefore these misconceptions must be addressed when interpreting literature and art created by Chicanas. In Chicano Narrative: The Dialectics of Difference, Ramon Saldivar explains that Chicano narratives, “must be understood as different from and in resistance to traditional American literature, yet must also be understood in their American context, for they take their oppositional stance deliberately, in order to offer readers a reformulation of historical reality and contemporary culture that is more consistent with the way reality and culture are actually experienced than do other representations” (9). I focus on women's narratives that add to this discussion of reformulation, as they include the quadruple oppression (race, class, gender, and sexuality) women of color experience.

It was during the Chicana renaissance in the 1980's that Chicana writers were noticed for writing works of resistance that reformulated the historical reality and contemporary culture that is created through stereotypical portrayals of Chicanas in film and literature. But, as readers, we must also realize that Chicanas have had a long history of writing narratives of resistance and reformulation. I examine the strategies of resistance Chicanas use in their texts to speak to the issues that surround and construct their identities (race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, etc.). In doing this, I focus on the images used in Maria Cristina Mena's children's books, Dolores del Río's films, Sandra Cisneros's poetry, and the work of contemporary website artists, Melina Chavarria, Laura Molina, and Bianca Ortiz. The purpose of this study is to show Chicana writers/artists carving out their place in history by accessing a privileged U.S. rhetoric, using their own language(s) to reformulate stereotypical images found in the public imagination, and thus make a larger space for a Chicana writers' “practiced resistance” against hegemonic discourses.

Indexing (details)

American literature;
Comparative literature;
Womens studies;
Motion Pictures;
Interior design
0591: American literature
0295: Comparative literature
0453: Womens studies
0900: Motion Pictures
0389: Design
0389: Interior design
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Chicana; Feminism; Identity; Resistance; Web site artists
Writing Chicana identity: Strategies of resistance and reformulation
Ramirez-Dhoore, Dora Alicia
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 64/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Honey, Maureen
The University of Nebraska - Lincoln
University location
United States -- Nebraska
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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