The Complexes Shaping the Development of Female Identities in Latinx Literature

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Sturgeon, Elizabeth; Olguin, Perla
Arts and Humanities; Latin American Literature; Philosophy; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Social Psychology; Social Psychology and Interaction; Sociology
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Ideas about complexes from social psychology can be an important tools for understanding how the identities of female protagonists in contemporary Latinx literature are shaped. This paper examines the idea that social psychology plays a pivotal role in the formation of an individual’s identity. The division amongst multiple identities, however, creates a problem when the individual feels like she must choose one identity over the other. The individual finds herself in conflict with who she was, who she is, and who she can be. But how a character discovers herself does not come from a natural cause but rather the skills and attributes she has learned to develop and use along the way to the realization of her full identity. This paper approaches the complexes of identities in three Latinx novels: When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, and Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia. Within complexes of identity, the paper analyzes the incorporation of two sub-categories including the inferiority complex and the Cinderella complex. It also acknowledges and further discusses how the social psychology of the individual determines who she will initially become.