Master of Arts (MA)


Foreign Languages and Literatures

Document Type



My thesis examines the literary portrayal of women in Dominican politics as historical figures/actors and how Dominican women have also used the medium of literature to draw attention to these lesser known heroines and inspire future participation and involvement in public life. The creation of fiction out of history, through which authors imagine the inner lives and feelings and motivations of Dominican women protagonists, can add a new dimension to the study of women and gender in the Dominican Republic, especially when written by Dominican women authors. More specifically, I will explore the following issues and areas: 1) how the works revise or expand on the traditional interpretation of political activism 2) how the works honor women historical actors, giving them a voice and 3) what the works reveal about the gendered nature of political activism. The novels I will be analyzing are Julia Alvarez’s novels In the Name of Salome and In the Time of Butterflies, as well as Charamicos by Angela Hernandez. These works are based on real women activists who have been fictionalized in the novels, such as Salome Urena de Henriquez and the Mirabal sisters, as well as “imagined” or “fictional” women who are not based on specific Dominican women, but rather a fictionalized compilation created to embody the experiences of many, such as the characters in Charamicos. My analysis of the literary representation of women’s activism draws from the fields of gender, political, historical and literary studies, however Joan W. Scott’s discussion of her-story and social history, as well as Paul Ricoeur’s theories on the relationship between memory and history are especially useful. In conclusion, I show that these novels have created a space for the imagined experiences of these women and given them a voice which was lacking, since these women activists have been left hidden in the pages of history, without detailed autobiographies or much more than a paragraph even in recent historical publications. I will also explore future research considerations that would build on the work in this thesis and further contribute to the expansion of the field of Dominican women’s studies.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Morris, Andrea E.