Title

Jinetera

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Fine Arts

Department

Creative Writing

Advisor's Name

John Dufresne

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

Dan Wakefield

Advisor's Name

Meri-Jane Rochelson

Date of Defense

3-8-2010

Abstract

Jinetera, a novel set in La Habana, explores the self-discovery of Milena Campos whose mother drowned in her attempt to leave Cuba. Milena is sent to live with her mother’s half sister and ends up in the hospital. There she meets Kassandra Martinez-- a young prostitute (jinetera)--who is obsessed with escaping Cuba. Milena turns to prostitution to pay for a boat to Miami with Kassandra and her newborn baby. The plot of the novel centers around the theme of redemption for the protagonist as well as the characters around her. Milena believes that saving her friend’s baby will validate her mother’s death. Jinetera examines the core values of a young woman born and raised in a despondent dictatorship, who in search of freedom and redemption is led to test the limits of her integrity and humanity as she awakens to the harsh reality of a government she once trusted.

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