The Latino Diaspora Is a Dystopia: U.S. Chicano and Latinx Experiences of Intersectional Oppression in Fiction - an Introductory Essay and an Original Short Story Collection: Good Burritos Don’t Fall Apart and Other Stories
AbstractThe introductory essay of this thesis looks at U.S. Latino and Chicano writers such as Junot Díaz and Sandra Cisneros, their craft, inspiration on my own work, and contribution to Latinx literary fiction. I argue that all fiction reflecting the authentic experiences of Chicanos and Latinx in the United States is, by definition, dystopian.
I also take a look at a few non-Latinx authors of other oppressed identities, such as U.S. Afro-futurist Octavia Butler, and Canadian Margaret Atwood, whose dystopias describe socially and politically disenfranchised characters as well. Like the Latinx protagonists of my own work, their characters experience multi-layered oppression, including misogyny, systemic racism, economic and educational inequities, political terror, sexual abuse/assault, and other traumas.
The only way to guarantee authentic narratives of the lived Latinx/Chicano experience, even fictionalized, is for us to write them ourselves. In that spirit, I have written an original collection of my own socially dystopian short stories, with major and minor Latinx characters of varying intersectional identities. Among them are first-generation college students, immigrants, queer and transgender Latinx, and men from working-class backgrounds. As a whole, these characters paint a diverse portrait of the U.S. Latinx diaspora.
The setting of the collection is the current cultural and political landscape, where economic, educational, and social inequities are symptomatic of American policy, systemic racism, and capitalism. The parents of most of these protagonists grew up in Latin-American countries, resulting in fiction that reflects a very real inter-generational dystopian experience.
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