Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English



First Advisor

Louis A. Cuddy


If I find my voice, I will find my identity. Voice gives identity meaning. The acquisition of language (voice) means an acquisition of subjectivity (identity). A search for an identity is a search for voice. But formation of identity is difficult when multiple layers of subjectivity are to be considered: the layer of dual culture, in this case Guatemala and the United States, the layer of an urban environment, the layer of a working-class status, the layer of being female, which are all major players in the development of voice. To make sense of, and find a voice for, a fragmented identity is difficult. Where is the voice of the individual among multiple voices?

"The Colors and Shadows of my Word(s ) " is the search for the voice within and among voices. It is a study of a young girl growing up in a household where the mother speaks Spanish and the father speaks English, a look at the young girl attending a dual-language elementary school and making the transition into an English-speaking high school, and ultimately college. Such a search for identity and voice requires an analysis of gender, of being a girl, and of sexuality, as well as of the travels of the young girl in and out of the worlds which make up her voice of resistance. Ultimately, what she resists are the negative connotations of the multiple layers of her identity. She resists being pigeon-holed in perfect categories. She resists definitions.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.