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Browsing by Author "Ibarra Karmy, Isabel Nicole"

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  • Ibarra Karmy, Isabel Nicole (2021)
    Language and identity go together in an inextricable manner, and this thesis examines two novels which have tried to depict the complicated lives of characters who use more than one language, as they face discrimination for doing so, and even for lacking skills in one of their languages. I compare and contrast the uses of Chicano English in The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo by Oscar Zeta Acosta (1989) and of African American English (also known as Vernacular English) in a recent novel, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017). The protagonists in both novels frequently engage in code-switching, and both characters reflect on their language choices as they seek to find their identity. Borrowing insights from Sociolinguistics, this literary analysis focuses on life changing situations for the characters, where they are depicted as being in an “in-between” space, banished from both cultures. I propose that it is this banishment, which initially acts as a source of shame for the characters and thus prevents them from having a clear identity, that ultimately leads them to question themselves into defining who they are. Both of the protagonists learn to turn the source of shame into a source of pride. In spite of the fact that the novels were written nearly thirty years apart, the analysis reveals that they have much in common, thus acting as a reflection of the struggles people from minorities have to go through in today’s society. Therefore, it is fundamental that we teach future generations about such struggles and create a world where bilingualism—even imperfect bilingualism or multilingualism—is readily accepted, making it easier for people to embrace all sides of themselves.