Date of Award

8-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Modern Foreign Languages

Major Professor

Oscar Rivera-Rodas

Committee Members

Alvaro Ayo, Nurica Cruz-Camara, Jon Shefner

Abstract

I have investigated the theme of imposters in three Hispanic American plays and two Caribbean plays from the early twentieth century; I selected each play from a different country so that I can present a broader perspective of Hispanic American and Caribbean themes. In these five plays, the main characters fabricate their own identities for various reasons. My focus is on analyzing those imposters and on presenting how the dramatists present this type of imposters in their works. Identity is one of the most prominent themes in Hispanic American and Caribbean literature because the history of these regions involves a long period of European colonization. As a result of this colonization the cultures of these regions imitated European culture for centuries. For this reason the act of constructing a distinct American identity has been a struggle for Hispanic American and Caribbean writers. The five plays analyze this struggle by depicting main characters who pretend to be someone else and abandon their own identity. I have analyzed the imposters and incorporated findings from various studies that make a connection between the play and Hispanic American and Caribbean history. My goal is to demonstrate the historical circumstances that provoke the characters into falsifying their own identities. In the final chapter I will perform a contrastive analysis of the five plays and focus on their similarities and differences. Each of the five plays demonstrates a different circumstance, and the characters fabricate their own identities for a different reason. However, all five cases produce a negative consequence in the play or give the readers a negative impression of imposters.

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