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“It Was NEVER Fiction:” The Decolonized Voice of Michele Serros

  • Author(s): Simone, Adrianna Marie Bayer
  • Advisor(s): Herrera-Sobek, María
  • Lomelí, Francisco A.
  • et al.
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Abstract

ABSTRACT

“It Was NEVER Fiction:” The Decolonized Voice of Michele Serros

by

Adrianna Marie Bayer Simone

Clare Hemmings’ Why Stories Matter: The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory (2011) posits three types of narratives—progress, loss, and return. She argues that all stories fall into one of these categories, with the most desired ones existing as return narratives. I argue that Hemmings does not account for decolonial stories and that an additional type of narrative is needed. As a decolonized voice, Chicana author Michele Serros embodies an ambiguous and transformative form of storytelling. I liken it to a DNA helix with multiple layers and threads that connect in a continuum of space and time. I critically analyze Serros’ writing conventions, such as her confessional and often autobiographical undertones, as techniques that illuminate new ways of understanding race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. Her most well-known books, How to Be a Chicana Role Model (2000) and Chicana Falsa and Other Stories of Death, Identity, and Oxnard (1997), offer poems, essays, and short stories that exemplify a decolonized voice. I critically analyze major themes from these books, such as the term “role model,” and show how a decolonized voice expands one’s understandings about ideologies. I utilize Anzaldúa’s theory from Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (2007) and essays from This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, 1981-2001 (2002) as a form of archeological reading for literature that is “theory in the flesh”—the lived reality of a person’s life presented as fiction. I supplement the notions of embodied literature with somatic theory to demonstrate how Serros’ mind and body offer counter stories to hegemonic ones. A decolonized voice is a significant contribution to academic theory because it is a new way of writing, reading, and analyzing stories. This work combines theoretical analyses, oral histories derived from several interviews with the author, and interdisciplinary methodologies used to create a dynamic approach to understanding Chicanx and Latinx literature. A diverse methodological approach creates the space for a decolonial analysis that is untethered and nonconformist, which illuminates a new way of understanding literature and society.

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This item is under embargo until February 20, 2020.