Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Audrey Goodman

Second Advisor

Christopher Kocela

Third Advisor

Mark Noble


This thesis examines how Chicanos use the literary mode of magical realism to express their cultural identity. Mislabeling works from authors of Latin or Hispanic descent continues as literature from the bordertowns along the US – Mexican border reached general audiences. This work clarifies this misclassification by defining magical realism and Curanderismo, often confused with witchcraft. Chicano magical realism shows the reclamation of identity and cultures thriving in the borderlands. Magic lives in the third spaces created throughout their communities, and Chicano magical realism explores what it means to be Chicano through supernatural elements in their fiction. After distinguishing between the two, this thesis shows how Chicanos adapted magical realism and created a structure that focuses on issues for their culture: third spaces, mythmaking, machismo, and the importance of La Virgen de Guadalupe. I also discuss the evolution of Chicano magical realism as it follows the political climate of the borderlands.


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