Major Themes in Ferré

Major Themes

The subject of Ferré’s works largely focus on societal politics and boldly addresses the conflict of identity that comes with being Latin American:

“As a Puerto Rican writer, I constantly face the problem of identity. When I travel to the States I feel as Latina as Chita Riviera. But in Latin America, I feel more American than John Wayne. To be Puerto Rican is to be a hybrid. Our two halves are inseparable; we cannot give up either without feeling maimed” (1998).

While she discusses the unique, positive aspects of this duality in her work, she also tackles the darker undertow of racial and class-based hierarchical structures that have arisen from a past of colonialism. Her feminist writing gives voice to the voiceless, often women and people of color. As Mariela Gutierrez writes, “she thinks of herself, above all, as chronicler of her own country’s socio-political history” (Strehle 78).

Even in her works which chronicle love and women’s relationships, politics inevitably resurface. Puerto Rico’s turbulent history and international relations often parallel the troubled relationships in her works. Conflicting points of views in her characters highlight the schism in the territory, torn between advocating for statehood and vying for independence. Her own upbringing was rife with contention: she often rebelled against her father, a pro-statehood advocate with strong ties to the U.S. Her own viewpoints vacillated between independence in her adolescence and later statehood. By the time that many Puerto Ricans had settled in the U.S. and set up communities, she believed that Latin American culture and language could be preserved regardless of statehood.

Ultimately, Ferré’s writing is always brazen and outspoken, unapologetic about undermining patriarchal and class-based power structures and allowing her characters to do the same. By intertwining political commentary, feminist discourse, and hints of the fantastic in the style of magical realism, Ferré’s legacy leaves behind a revealing dissection of Latin American society.