Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Raquel Vega-Durán

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This thesis, written in the Spanish language, merges historical documents, literature, and interviews in the form of a creative story that explores the Puerto Rican identity through the lens of one family. Cuca, the main character, is an allegory of the island’s current and historical state of “in-betweenness”. As a former Spanish colony, then U.S. territory, and now a U.S. commonwealth, the island has incorporated elements from each imperial regime, though never fully being a part of any. The story begins in 2008 and centers first on Cuca, and then her granddaughter who struggles to understand her own identity as both an American and a Puerto Rican. The story then goes back in time to 1930, the year in which the Puerto Rican government legalized divorce. After Cuca’s mother divorces her Spanish father, and then marries an American, Cuca comes to have two paternal figures much like Puerto Rican has had: one Spanish and one American. Taking place between 1930 and 1942, the story focuses on the island’s evolving identity between the Great Depression years and the beginning of Operation Bootstrap, the latter which sought to modernize the island and to increase tourism. The thesis raises the complexities of being Puerto Rican, but also more generally the complexities of all those who feel caught between cultures and identities.


  • Best Senior Thesis in Modern Languages Spanish

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.