Spanish and Portuguese ETDs

Publication Date



The development of the Chicano/a identity has prevailed as a main theme in a vast variety of Chicano/a Literature. This study analyses the construction of identity in female protagonists as they develop a domestic profession in the private and public sectors. The novels Face of An Angel written by Denise Chávez and Trini written by Estela Portillo-Trambley as well as selected poems written by Pat Mora set the stage for a dialogue between domestic workers and their employers as both parties negotiate their own identity and subsistence in a society where their presence involves a give and take for economic reasons. The female characters develop a better understanding of their own culture, community and themselves through domestic work and their interactions with other domestic workers in the narratives. Domestic work becomes a profession for the female characters and a tool to mediate their identity between private and public spheres. This study takes an interdisciplinary approach as it analyses the narratives not only from a literary perspective but from a sociological one. Mary Romero and Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelos extensive studies have highlighted the importance of domestic workers and their contributions in society. Gloria Anzaldúa's work has contributed to this study as the concept of the new mestiza plays an important role in identity formation. This study closely analyses the similarities between sociological studies of domestic workers and their identity formation and the representation of domestic workers in Chicano/a Literature. The outcome of this study analyses similarities between domestic workers and their representation in literature. It also studies how domestic workers have made an attempt to redefine their identity and have struggled to be recognized as individuals who have a valuable profession that can truly be valued in society and its literature.

Degree Name

Spanish & Portuguese (PhD)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

Reyes, Bárbara

Second Committee Member

López, Miguel

Third Committee Member

Lamadrid, Enrique




Women household employees in literature, Mexican American women in literature, Identity (Philosophical concept) in literature, American literature--Mexican American authors--History and criticism, Chavez, Denise--Criticism and interpretation, Mora, Pat--Criticism and interpretation, Trambley, Estela Portillo, 1936- --Criticism and interpretation

Document Type