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Chicana/o and Latina/o FictionThe New Memory of Latinidad$
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Ylce Irizarry

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039911

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039911.001.0001

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Narratives of Fracture

Narratives of Fracture

Defining Latinidades

(p.111) 3 Narratives of Fracture
Chicana/o and Latina/o Fiction

Ylce Irizarry

University of Illinois Press

This chapter illustrates how one's cultural identity is defined just as much by geographic location, gender, class, and political ideology than by perceived race or ethnic self-identification. It studies two texts by Puerto Rican authors to show how individuals challenge rigid notions of ethnonationalism: Judith Ortiz Cofer's The Latin Deli: Telling the Lives of Barrio Women (1993) and Ernesto Quiñonez's Bodega Dreams (2000). Set in the proximate urban Northeastern cities—Paterson, New Jersey, and New York City, respectively—with large populations of Puerto Ricans, other kinds of Latinas/os, and other underrepresented ethnic populations, the books challenge persistent definitions of puertorriqueñidad—the essence of one's Puerto Rican identity. Ortiz Cofer portrays the confinement women experience due to patriarchal Puerto Rican family values while Quiñonez portrays the confinement Puerto Rican men experience due to their ethnonational loyalties.

Keywords:   cultural identity, ethnic self-identification, ethnonationalism, puertorriqueñidad, Puerto Rican identity, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Ernesto Quiñonez

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