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Crossing, Trespassing, and Subverting Borders in Chicana Writing


Debora Holler

The border and border-crossing and its significance for the Chicana in a cultural, social, gendered, and spiritual sense are at the core of this book. The three oeuvres selected—Helena Viramontes’ The Moths and Other Stories, Ana Castillo’s The Mixquiahuala Letters, and Norma Cantú’s Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera—are eloquent examples of feminist Chicana writers who refuse to allow their lives to be restricted by the gender, social, racial, and cultural border and who portray how Chicana women rebel against the unfair treatment they receive from their fathers, husbands and lovers. Crossing and deconstructing the man-made borders means to leave behind the known territory and discover an unknown land, in the hope of finding a new world in which Chicana women have the same rights as white women and in which they can realize their self, develop a new mestiza consciousness and liberate themselves from patriarchal constraints and religious beliefs. The author shows how the newly won self-confidence empowers the Chicana to explore the opportunities this freedom offers.

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First and foremost, I deeply appreciate the advice, guidance, feedback, mentoring, support, and encouragement that I received throughout this project from my supervisor Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Renate von Bardeleben. I am also greatly indebted to my loyal proof-reader John Kevin Walker-Smith who read throughout the texts giving feedback and thoughtful comments and who was always willing to correct at any time. Moreover, I want to thank Professor Khaled Omran Al-Zawan from the Department of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Alicante who helped me with the first steps to survey a plan on how to proceed. I also want to express my gratitude to my doctoral friends at the University of Mainz for their feedback and encouraging words throughout the process of writing this dissertation. My deepest thanks, however, goes to God who gave me the perseverance and strength to finally finish this thesis.

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