Document Type



Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

First Advisor's Name

John Dufresne

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dan Wakefield

Third Advisor's Name

Meri-Jane Rochelson

Date of Defense



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.