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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

16. The Search For Identity

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
- Toni Cade Bambara
- Sandra Cisneros
- Judith Ortiz Cofer
- Leslie Feinberg
- Diane Glancy
- Maxine Hong Kingston
- David Mamet
- Toni Morrison
- Thomas Pynchon
- Alice Walker
- Suggested
•  Timeline
•  Activities

Authors: Judith Ortiz Cofer (b. 1952)

The Great He-Goat (Witches Sabbath)
[2184] Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, The Great He-Goat (Witches Sabbath) (c. 1823), courtesy of the Museo Nacional de Prado, Madrid.

Judith Ortiz Cofer Activities
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Judith Ortiz Cofer was born in Hormingueros, Puerto Rico, and was educated in the United States, primarily New Jersey. Her fiction incorporates elements of memoir as well as of the oral storytelling tradition that she learned, and that comforted her, while she was growing up in Puerto Rican communities. As a writer of fiction, poetry, and essays, Cofer has merged her Latin and Anglo experiences to express the dual identity engendered by living in two cultural spheres. In her work, she adapts for new readers the Spanish and classical myths that provided the foundation for the stories she heard as a child. For example, in "The Witch's Husband," Cofer uses a double-narration technique that allows us to share the perspectives of both the storyteller Abuela and her granddaughter. Cofer is adept at crafting fiction that honors the traditions and stories of the older generations while remaining sensitive to the post-women's liberation views of the younger generation.

Cofer also builds bridges between generations as a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Georgia: she teaches students about the importance of their ancestors' stories even as she guides them in creating their own. In addition, she regularly gives lectures on biculturalism in America and on the importance of encouraging diverse voices to contribute to American literature. Cofer's works include Terms of Survival (1987), Reaching for the Mainland (1987), The Line of the Sun (1989), Silent Dancing (1990), The Latin Deli: Prose and Poetry (1993), and Woman in Front of the Sun: On Becoming a Writer (2000).

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