Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English Composition



First Reader/Committee Chair

Pak, Yumi


This thesis considers the use of Young Adult Chicana Literature in the classroom to help young Chicanas work through their process of finding their identities. It begins by making the case that Chicana identities are complex because of their intersectional borderland positioning between Mexican and U.S. American cultures, which makes the identity formation process more difficult for them than others. By relating these complex issues facing young Chicanas to literature that is more relevant to them and their struggles, it is argued that teachers can help ease some of the tensions that exist within their students and help them work more easily through the identity issues they may be facing.

This text engages in an analysis of two pieces of Young Adult Chicana Literature, Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street and Isabel Quintero’s Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, through the critical lens of autohistoria-teoría to argue that because the forms of these novels follow this pattern of theorizing through experience and reflection, they can be of critical assistance in helping young Chicanas work through their own experiences and issues.

Finally, this thesis moves into my own autohistoria-teoría in which I reflect on my own experiences with the identity formation process and how recognition of myself in literature played a critical role in my own process, and how the overwhelming lack of this type of literature stunted my identity formation process.