Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

English

Advisor

Yajaira Padilla

Committee Member

Elias Dominguez-Barajas

Second Committee Member

David Jolliffe

Keywords

Binary, Chicana Literature, Gender

Abstract

Language labels and defines in order to enhance meaning and communication, but through these labels and definitions speakers are also conditioned to associate certain connotations with words and, therefore, their referents. While often harmless, linguistic conditioning can at times create unsavory associations with these referents. One of these instances occurs in gendered labels and conceptions of male and female bodies and purpose. Both Yxta Maya Murray’s Locas and Denise Chavez’s Loving Pedro Infante can be read through a lens that applies linguistic conditioning with gender theory in order to examine the reinterpretation of female archetypes in the Chicana imagination. It is my assertion here that both authors utilize their characters’ associations with these figures through representations of male/female and female/female gender binaries and ultimately call into question the linguistic construction of both the archetypes and Chicana women themselves.

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