Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Luis C. Cano

Committee Members

Michael H. Handelsman, Dolly J. Young


This thesis examines how the literary voice of Hispanics in the United States is forming through the mixing, or codeswitching, of the Spanish and English languages in the genre Bildungsroman of the Twenty-First Century. It discusses the theoretical framework in written codeswitching and analyzes the application of these studies in most recent Spanish-English texts of the biographical genre Bildungsroman: Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Sandra Cisneros’s Caramelo.

The research presented here looks in detail at the various methods and applications of written codeswitching in a literary text and how the successful and prevalent use of this technique in distinguished works speaks for the changing voice of Hispanics in the United States in reference to Bildungsroman. This thesis approaches the when, how and why of written codeswitching comparatively in both a sociological and linguistic context. It argues that the alternating of languages in narrative prose reflects the current Hispanic transnational identity, particularly of youth living in the United States, and their social struggles and experiences. It concludes that the effective establishment of codeswitching in Bildungsroman novels both shows and responds to an increasing Hispanic population, which uses this literary device to illustrate the evolution and acceptance of a bicultural perspective in the United States.

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