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Testimonial literature is essential in order to understand the development of a Latin American Identity --it captures and manifests the epistemological and metaphysical difficulties that challenge the notion of identity and have complicated its development. It presents the perpetual debate between allowing the Other to speak and not to speak. Compelled to understand the densities of this debate, I analyze the testomonies of two women who struggle to define their beliefs and live according to their cultural values in twentieth century Cuba --as it proves difficult to escape the constraints constructed and imposed by patriarchal society. I study the strategies they adopt to resist the hegemonic order of their society; and intend to demonstrate how they construct their gender identity and assert their agency throughout the course of their testimonies. The texts used throughout my analysis are Daisy Rubiera Castillo's Reyita, sencillamente and Miguel Barnet's Canción de Rachel. Reyita, was an Afro-Cuban woman living an impoverished life in Cuba; and Rachel, was a vedette who performed in the renowned stage of Havana's Alhambra. Both narratives prove to be essential for their economic, cultural, historical, political and literary relevance. And, as argued by Raphael Dalleo in Caribbean Literature and the Public Sphere, these narratives can be used as true gauges of the country's social and political activities of the time (186).
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Includes bibliographical references.
José Gomariz, Professor Directing Thesis; Roberto Fernandez, Committee Member; Martin Munro, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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