Dissertation Abstract

Discrimination, Evasion, and Livability in four New York Puerto Rican Narratives

by Rivera Monclova, Marta S., Ph.D., Tufts University, 2010 , 282 pages; AAT 3403442

Discrimination, Evasion, and Livability in Four New York Puerto Rican Narratives contends that the conditions that inform and constrain the construction of Puerto Rican identity are always themselves informed and constrained by the colonial status of Puerto Rico and that the conditions of colonialism are deeply, and sometimes invisibly, imbricated within the forms of discrimination that Puerto Ricans experience. This project considers four primary texts: Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas (1967), Yo-Yo Boing! (1998) by Giannina Braschi, The Lamentable Journey of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle (2004) by Edgardo Vega Yunqué, and Picture Me Rollin’ (2005) by Sofia Quintero writing as Black Artemis. Hegemonic constructions of Puerto Rican lives frequently focus on the effects of the Puerto Rican presence in New York, while denying the experiences of the people themselves. I argue that Puerto Rican narrative seeks to create a competing construction of Puerto Rican experiences and frequently accomplishes this goal by reflecting, transforming, and distorting the hegemonic constructions, as well as questioning and controverting them.

My own open access project!