Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in English



Faculty Advisor(s)

Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt (Thesis Advisor)
Barbara Kitt Seidman & Tania Carrasquillo Hernández (Committee Members)

Subject Categories

Latin American Literature | Latina/o Studies | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority | Modern Literature | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


In this Honors Thesis project, I examine two literary texts, “The Youngest Doll” (1991) and The House on the Lagoon (1995), by Puerto Rican author Rosario Ferré (1938-2016) with attention to her depiction of the abject female body as a figure analyzed by both theories of gender and the subaltern. Using these critical frameworks as well as my own textual analysis, I argue that Ferré offers a postcolonial feminist critique of the double oppression—patriarchal and colonial— operating upon her female Puerto Rican characters. Yet these women also turn this abjection into transgression, allowing Ferré to expose the paradoxes of female subjectivity as they mobilize the subversive power of the Other against their oppressors. This power manifests in their abjection, which allows these Othered women to work creatively within the confines of the patriarchal and colonial legacies in Puerto Rico to gain agency and destabilize the hegemony.