Nolan Arriaga

Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (MA)

Committee Chair

Broncano, Manuel


The purpose of this research is to show the universality behind Rudolfo Anaya’s Tortuga and the characters’ individual responses to trauma. This includes their struggles with a manipulating darkness in the hopes to find light, which comes in various forms such as mentors, literature, oral storytelling, and the sun. Theories from Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung help explain certain characters’ actions. The protagonist is on a journey to escape from the hospital or unfamiliar purgatory to go back home, which sheds light on an important Chicano issue. Tortuga delves into both social realism and magical realism, but the concept of reality is still important to understand in this work. Enlightenment is the crucial weapon against the restricting darkness. In order for light to prevail, these characters need to allow light to shine within themselves. The overall message that Rudolfo Anaya is trying to get across to his audience is “love life and engage it.”