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Shame, Nostalgia and Cuban American Cultural Identity in Fiction: “la cubana arrepentida”

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Chapter Summary

Shame and nostalgia have worked in many ways to influence cultural citizenship, identity, and ethnic separatism among South Florida Cubans. These processes, reflecting various stages in the identity discourses and culture of the Cuban exile, are manifest in literary products that may work to memorialize the homeland as a part of an urge to impede, erode or retard the process of assimilation and thus preserve cultural identity. In some cases, memorialization of the homeland goes hand in hand with degrading the majority culture as well as shaming those members of the minority who may be suspected of moving towards assimilation. Shaming is also, more conventionally, used by the majority culture to designate difference and inferiority in the minority exile culture. This chapter, by the Cuban-Australian writer Olga Lorenzo, explores these conflicting and contradictory drives as they mark indelibly the experiences of Cubans made in and by exile.



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