This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Identity Rifts in the Spanish Speaking World: A Literary Comparison of Martí, Darío, Unamuno and Machado




Westwood, Chad

Type of Degree



Foreign Languages and Literatures


This thesis serves to explain how the transition that occurred in Spain and Spanish America during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries affected the issue of identity. Because of Spain’s historically powerful background, preceding the ascension of Felipe VI in 1700, a loss of morale occurred as the Spanish nation began to lose its colonial empire throughout the nineteenth century. For the Spanish people this loss manifested itself on many levels including: a patriotic sense towards their homeland, a personal sense towards themselves and their communities, as well as in a spiritual sense in their relationship to their God. Many writers wrote of this loss of identity including Miguel de Unamuno and Antonio Machado whom I have used as references for Spain’s state during this time period. Spanish America, however, although struggling with its new independence, found freedom in the ability to create a new identity separate from its past Spanish colonial ties. Because of this new freedom, a loss of identity was not the main impetus behind literary successes but the idea of forging a new one. José Martí and Rubén Darío are examples of authors who wrote of this new desired stability. Within these pages I have compared the two groups of people showing how the time period affected both of them; the loss of colonies of Spain or the gaining of independence in Spanish America. Through the literary works of these four authors, I have represented both Spain and Spanish America presenting the negative affects that occurred in Spain while contrasting such changes to the progressive state of Spanish America.