Purdue University Graduate School
Claudia Sadowski - Final Dissertation.pdf (1.59 MB)

Taking a Chance: A Narrative Inquiry of Mexican Origin Immigrants Living in the American Midwest

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posted on 2021-12-20, 14:09 authored by Claudia Felisa SadowskiClaudia Felisa Sadowski

The purpose of this narrative inquiry is to portray a complex picture of Mexican origin immigrants living in the United States. This study portrays their lives, their experiences, and their thought processes from the moment they made their life-changing decision to immigrate to the USA until their current realities of life in the American Midwest. The stories discussed and the interpretations made are the result of oral interviews with four families conducted in their native language of Spanish. The personal experiences of the seven participants are familiar to thousands of immigrants who arrive to the USA daily. Although these immigrants experience a great deal of hardship, they also develop a strong layer of resilience and solidarity with each other. The study also provides an in-depth analysis of key works of literature written by, and about, Mexican and Hispanic immigrants. These books are: Con Respeto: Bridging the Distances Between Culturally Diverse Families and Schools, An Ethnographic Portrait (Valdés, 1996); Of Borders and Dreams: A Mexican-American Experience of Urban Education (Carger, 1996); The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (Jiménez, 1997); The Undocumented Americans (Cornejo Villavicencio, 2020); and The House on Mango Street (Cisneros, 1984). The experiences portrayed within these masterful works are then connected to those of the participants of this narrative inquiry. Additionally, connections are made by the researcher, a scholar of Mexican origin living in the American Midwest. This work illustrates why people choose to emigrate, their family and gender roles, their focus on educating the next generation, and their strong religious faith. It also depicts their challenges, fears, and resilience as they navigate living “between two worlds.”


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Languages and Cultures

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Alejandro Cuza-Blanco

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

JoAnn Phillion

Additional Committee Member 2

Mariko Wei

Additional Committee Member 3

Jake Burdick