ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on the female protagonist and narrator Celaya Reyes in the novel Caramelo, written by Chicana author Sandra Cisneros. Celaya, better known as Lala, grows up within the borders of two countries, which causes her to create an identity that allows her to navigate dual cultures. The metaphor of the rebozo will be used to analyze Lalas journey as a woman of color and as a Chicana as she struggles to develop an identity that makes her feel whole. Several social and cultural factors contribute to identity formation. This can be challenging because the social and cultural factors experienced by adolescent are often conflicting. Ethnic identities form through the negotiation of the characteristics ascribed by others and through understanding and defining how one sees self. This paper will highlight how a Mexican-American identity is formed through the character of Celaya. More specifically, it will analyze Celayas development as a woman between two cultures and the role they play in developing her Chicana identity. [Word Count 166]
The Research Topic
The primary text I will be working with is Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros. In Caramelo, Cisneros uses the metaphor of the rebozo to depict the many intricacies involved in identity development. The image of the rebozo is recurrent in the novel. It mimics the many layers of patriarchy, misogyny, space, and culture that are woven together in order to create identity. In my paper, I will use the metaphor of the rebozo to explore the identity formation of Celaya Reyes.
The Research Context
In order to understand how crossing borders contributes to the identity formation of Caramelos protagonist Celaya, I will incorporate the work of Gloria Anzalda. Anzaldas book Borderlands/La Frontera is a book about identity and its formation among divided cultures. Anzaldas work in borderlands and mestiza consciousness will guide the explanation of the struggles of Celaya as mestiza.. As a supplement to Anzaldas work, I will use Toni Morrisons book The Origin of Others. This book will provide a framework on race and the creation of identity in further understanding Caramelo. My research will also draw from Decolonial Voices: Chicana and Chicano Cultural Studies in the 21st Century by Arturo Aldama and Naomi Helena Quinonez. The book provides a background on the anxieties experienced by Chicanas and Chicanos. It also addresses biopower and the migrant womans body. This relates to Caramelo as those with power and participating in the patriarchal system control the females in Caramelo.
In this paper, I would first like to tie together the rebozo and identity. Be viewing the rebozo as metaphor for the manner in which various structures are woven together we can understand the complexity of developing an identity, especially for the woman straddling dual cultures. I will also build on the work of Gloria Anzalda by applying Anzaldas concept...