Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Fine Arts

Department

Creative Writing

First Advisor's Name

Les Standiford

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dan Wakefield

Third Advisor's Name

Lynne Barrett

Keywords

Cuban revolution, immigrants, exile, La Habana, Miami, identity politics, coming of age, Cuban women, cultural and language barriers, Cuban-American memoir

Date of Defense

11-9-2010

Abstract

Leaving Little Havana is the story of a young girl who leaves her comfortable middle-class home in La Habana just after the Cuban Revolution and, fighting to overcome cultural and language barriers, forges a new life in Miami. Dealing with a torn identity and discovering her voice are at the center of the narrative. After an endless string of escapades, she finally pulls herself together, learns the value of her inner strength by rising above bleak circumstances and gets accepted to journalism school in California. The book examines the devastating effects of immigration on a family and the struggle of a child of Cuban exiles, coming of age in a foreign society, to beat the obstacles that stand in her way to a stable and satisfying life. The narrator shows that Cuban immigrants share similar challenges with all who have aspired to make America their home.

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