English, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 10:1 (2009), pp. 54–76. Copyright © 2010 by Smith College; published by Indiana University Press. Used by permission.


Relying on feminist theory concerning difference, identity, gender, and solidarity, “Transnational Community in Demetria Martínez’s Mother Tongue” reads Martínez’s 1994 novel through a transnational feminist lens. I point out that Mother Tongue complicates identification with the other and resists the impulse by characters to elide national, racial, and sexual difference. However, the articulation of community identities and the portrayal of characters as members of both oppressed communities and communities in resistance offers a new and provocative way to understand how individuals interact with identity and attend to important differences while nonetheless working for global change. The resulting analysis contributes to literary scholarship that seeks to understand how characters, authors, critics, and activists create and articulate transnational identities, an analysis particularly relevant given the history of intervention of the U.S. in El Salvador and the recent historic presidential elections in both nations.