Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Melinda Knight

Committee Member

Laura Nicosia

Committee Member

Lee Behlman


This paper endeavors to explore the distinct ways in which the Dominican motherhood ideology promoted by Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina’s regime is resisted by women of different social classes and race through a close reading of the characters Laura and Beli in Julia Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Accents and Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, respectively. Using Adrienne Rich’s concept of motherhood ideology as a theoretical framework and engaging in discussion of how these ideologies were constructed, engendered, and enforced by the Trujillo regime, I found that these texts depict voluntary and involuntary resistance to motherhood on the basis of how socio-economic status and race play a role in the interpretation of motherhood and performance of mothering. Though Dominican-American scholarship has neglected the theme of motherhood in these texts as a focal point into ideological resistance, it is significant that though published sixteen years apart in the diaspora, by two different representative authors of the Dominican diaspora, these texts grapple with resistance to motherhood ideology because it demonstrates how Dominican diasporic literature is still engrossed with the effects of the Trujillo regime and its oppressive use of motherhood ideology disguised under a quasi-feminist conservative vision.

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