Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Renee Hudson

Second Advisor

Joanna Levin

Third Advisor

Rei Magosaki


The figure of the domestic worker in Latinx and Latin American fiction is a prominent character, permeating multiple genres and geographic locations. Post-colonial and feminist engagement with literature begs us to engage with the racialized and gendered constraints of this character in order to understand the borders of latinidad as based on the exclusion of certain bodies, predominantly black ones. Using the domestic worker characters from Julia Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Accents (1991) and Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones (1998), and underscoring their historical and socio-political background of Hispaniola, we can understand the embodied context of race and national belonging, and how these contexts establish symbolic borders between the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the United States. The exclusion of these characters from the canon of latinidad, then, leads to a more careful consideration of the novel as a transformational tool, an analysis of the role of the writer as an authority over certain stories, and the ability of fiction to morph and change perception and political reality in the world at large. Finally, we consider whether latinidad can exist within the exclusionary constraints of its past, or whether the term is fundamentally flawed in its perception of identity.

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