Have a Question?
Ask the Graduate
College at our new
Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Jessica C. Lynam
Doctor of Philosophy
Title: Estadounidenses and Gringos as Reality and Imagination in Mexican Narrative of the Late Twentieth Century
Dr. John Benson, Chair
Dr. Irma M. López
Dr. Patricia M. Montilla
Dr. Sybil Rhodes
Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Sprau Tower, 10th Floor
The representation of North Americans in contemporary Mexican narrative texts is frequent, complex and worthy of study. The present dissertation makes no pretense of being a comprehensive catalogue of “gringos” in Mexican narrative; it can be better seen as a cross-section of Mexican literature concerning people from the United States published during the final two decades of the twentieth century. My intention is to explore how this Mexican narrative has characterized non-Mexican Americans and contextualize these visions in terms of their cultural and historical origins. In this study, I analyze six texts authored by men and women, border authors as well as writers from Central Mexico. North Americans are not necessarily the central theme of these novels, but do have a pronounced presence in them, constituting a part of daily life and a part of the Mexican psyche.
This study is supported by literary, historical and cultural studies by such authors as Edward Said, Homi K. Bhabha, Deborah Castillo, Michael C. Meyer and Stephen Morris. In the treatment I have given to each of these six novels, I have focused on content, structure, style and tone in accordance with the importance of these elements in the work. Thus, while in one case the analysis of narrative technique may provide the key to understanding the text, a different emphasis may be more relevant and beneficial for a different novel. I believe that this holistic approach, with appropriate specialization as indicated by the particular narrative, facilitates the most accurate and faithful interpretation of the material, both in terms of completeness and detail. While no one image of the neighbors to the north prevails in these narrative texts, these six Mexican authors suggest that projecting an identity onto North Americans contributes to a Mexican national identity that is informed by such stereotypes yet defined in opposition to them.