Fiction in the Latino autobiography
This study argues that non-traditionally autobiographical works by Latinos in the US should be included in autobiographical studies. It contends that full consideration should be given to Latinos, works, such as letters, poems, and historical documents, that have rarely been defined as autobiographical. In so doing, it provides an historical overview of autobiographical writing by Latinos, beginning with The Account: Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's Relación (1542) and ending with more contemporary works, such as Esmeralda Santiago's When I Was Puerto Rican (1993). As it examines these works, the dissertation also provides a description of stages in autobiographical writing by Latinos and presents explanations for its evolution by noting the roles of political, publishing, social, and other institutions. ^ Furthermore, this work looks closely at the fiction in the following autobiographical works: Down These Mean Streets, by Piri Thomas, The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo, by Oscar Zeta Acosta, Hunger of Memory, by Richard Rodriguez, Family Installments, by Edward Rivera, Love in the War Years , by Cherríe Moraga, Living Up the Street, by Gary Soto, and Silent Dancing, by Judith Ortiz Cofer. It argues that these writers fictionalize not so much for the purpose of being voices for broader groups, but in order to authenticate their works through metaphorical devices, and to express a representation of inner conflicting versions of self. ^ Lastly, this work includes memoirs and an afterword, written by the author, who uses fiction for a variety of purposes. The use of mythology, for example, is used to guide the memoirs and challenge the authenticity of what has traditionally been defined as ethnically autobiographical. The memoirs describe a time in the author's childhood when he lived with his sister in El Salvador, away from his parents, and also recount the struggles during the first few years of his life in America. Throughout these memoirs, fiction is used to raise questions about the term “autobiography” and a writer's commitment to truth. The versions of self that one presents in autobiographical works are often different than the ones experienced or remembered, as this work illustrates. ^
Biography|Literature, Latin American|Literature, Caribbean|Literature, American
Jose Beselin Gonzalez,
"Fiction in the Latino autobiography"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).