Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Classical and Modern Languages

Committee Chair

Medina, Manuel Fernando

Author's Keywords

Language; Literature and linguistics; Puerto Rico


American literature--Hispanic American authors; Santiago, Esmeralda; Ortiz, Cofer, Judith, 1952-


United States capitalist development efforts, known as Operation Bootstrap, created an economic need for Puerto Ricans. Two authors, Esmeralda Santiago and Judith Ortiz Cofer, are both women of Puerto Rican decent who lived through this historic period.This thesis examines the lives of both "puertorriquenas" and their experiences in the cities of Paterson, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York respectively. Becoming a woman in an urban environment stands as a unifying experience of both Ortiz Cofer and Santiago. Chapter one examines trauma as a normal part of the urban experience. Chapter two focuses on bilingual and bicultural identity and its use in constructing an identity of "puertorriquenidad." Chapter three continues the analysis of the construction "puertorriquenidad", but observes skin color as an identity marker in the creation of an identity of the self.