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Reinaldo Arenas, Caliban, and Postcolonial Discourse By Enrique Morales-Díaz ...

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Reinaldo Arenas, Caliban, and Postcolonial Discourse

Introduction

There is an ideological connection between Caliban, the literary figure, and Reinaldo Arenas, the Cuban exiled homosexual writer. This link begins with Cuban scholar Roberto Fernández Retamar’s treatment of Caliban as an iconic symbol and Reinaldo Arenas’ proposition regarding the agency of the homosexual writer in Cuba under a revolutionary regime. In fact, Rafael Ocasio has classified Arenas as one of “Cuba’s first underground writer[s]” (Ocasio 4), an admonition that will make the commonalities between William Shakespeare’s Caliban and Cuba’s Reinaldo Arenas clear.

In his essay Fernández Retamar asks, “Does a Latin American culture exist?” (3). Arenas, on the other hand, asks, “Can a homosexual exist in a Cuban culture that promotes conformity of the male/female gender dichotomy?” More importantly, Arenas will ask, “Do I exist?” Fernández Retamar’s argument