Author

Dallas Gomez

Date Approved

2020

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

English Language and Literature

Second Advisor

Joseph Csicsila

Abstract

The Latinx community is rapidly growing in the United States, and it is important for young readers to find books with characters who are members of this community . However, there are many stereotypes that exist about this group in society, some negative and some positive . To determine how the Latinx community is depicted to readers of young adult (YA) fiction, I selected a set of novels featuring Latinx people as main characters based on their publication date and targeted audience age . By reading and analyzing different books written at different times, not only was it found that there are certain stereotypes that exist within YA literature about the Latinx community, but also that it is possible for characters to challenge these stereotypes . While characters in these novels are sometimes shown as criminals, gang members, or teen moms, they can also be shown as hardworking and family-oriented or can be depicted in complex, multifaceted ways that defy stereotyping . It is important to recognize not only how stereotypes exist in works of literature but how they can be challenged as well . In this way, these books can help readers who identify as Latinx to find characters that are authentic and readers who do not identify as Latinx to learn that there is more to this community than just the common stereotypes we see in much mass media .

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