Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Carlos Riobo

Subject Categories

American Studies | Arts and Humanities | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Caribbean Languages and Societies | Comparative Literature | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Literature | Latina/o Studies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Liberal Studies | Other English Language and Literature | Women's Studies


Language, Cuba, Mestizaje, Lugones


Maria Lugones offers a new way of perceiving the world, which makes visible that fragmentation is not a valuable and transgressive understanding of identity, as Western philosophy and some political theory suggests. What Lugones believes in, as a strategy of resistance to the dominant gaze, is multiplicity – mestizaje. Using Lugones’s framework, this thesis will look at the different aspects of Cuban-American characters in In Cuba I was a German Shepherd by Ana Menéndez and Memory Mambo by Achy Obejas. Each novel offers insight into how characters develop and understand themselves (and others) when they use language that shows that people have multiple identities that are in contact with each other at all times, rather than presenting themselves one at a time. This analysis seeks to make visible the inconsistencies of the logic of fragmentation and make clear that marginalized identities are better articulated when they are presented as complex, nuanced, and varied. The thesis is divided into three sections, to explore more effectively the different aspects of each novel. The first section will be a linguistic analysis—how the novels utilize language to perform the multiplicity of identity. The second is a character analysis—how the characters interaction offer the reader insight into what occurs to fragmented identities and what follows when they are viewed as multiple and layered. The last section analyzes the structural aspect of each novel and how the form helps to push the reader to feel and find ambiguity and nuance in the text.