Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Gary Schneider


This study argues that although borders divide and fragment identity, there can be an embracement of a hybrid identity. Mártinez's novel, Mother Tongue, uses the representation of a Mexican-American female who has recognized and endeavored to cross a border to better understand the complexities of her hybrid identity. This journey is represented through Mary, a young woman who resides on a physical border between the United States and Mexico and lives on a cultural border between New Mexico and El Salvador. Martínez presents the cultural, historical, linguistic, and psychological aspects of living on a border between the United States and Latin America throughout the course of the novel. A significant contribution to the existing Chicana Literary canon is the way in which Martínez illustrates how the presence of Jose Luís, a refugee from El Salvador, brings about Mary's recognition of her suppressed Latino/a identity and her endeavor to retain it.


Copyright 2009 Cathy Ann Cortina. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American