Date of Degree

2-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Hispanic & Luso-Brazilian Literatures & Languages

Advisor

Elena Martinez

Committee Members

Lia Schwartz

Marithelma Costa

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Caribbean Languages and Societies | Latin American Languages and Societies

Keywords

Caribbean literature, Latin American literature, Puerto Rican short stories, narrator, migration

Abstract

As a result of the political and economic upheavals in Puerto Rico’s governing structures during the mid-twentieth century, changes occurred in the social and cultural contexts as well. Rapid industrialization and installation of modernity became the goals for the island, which resulted in mass movement of people from agricultural rural communities to cities, namely, San Juan and New York. A reflection of this phenomenon appears in different genres of literary production during this time. This new form of writing, with its innovative approaches, grew and found preference mostly in the short story.

This dissertation focuses on the stories of this migration, written by prominent authors from the island: René Marqués, Pedro Juan Soto, José Luis González and José Luis Vivas. It analyzes the thematic similarities and differences of the narrators in presenting themes within both cities. Including narrative theories of Gérard Genette, Dorrit Cohn, Mieke Bal and Enrique Anderson Imbert, this project evaluates the array of modern techniques used and emphasizes the change in the writing of the period, focusing on a variety of topics. It compares and contrasts the point of view of the narrator and the development of themes, such as, despair, women, class, race, ethnic identity and violence.

This study is comprised of five parts: an introduction, three chapters and a conclusion. The first chapter commences with an overview of the short stories, its authors, methodology and critical approaches. It traces the theoretical framework which covers the definitions of the narrator’s characteristics. The second chapter develops the first two elements, voice and focalization. Aspects, such as, who speaks, location and distance, sounds, external voices and culture, and retrospection are analyzed. The third chapter develops the elements of perspective and attitude. It focuses on the internal and monologues, which include stream of consciousness and ambiguity. It also includes the evaluative tool of opinion which is necessary for interpreting the mood and feeling of the narrators. The work concludes with the comparable and distinguishable results of the elements observed in the different settings. It acknowledges the familiarity of themes within literature of the migration experience.

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