Shadows of Yesterday

Marlene Liotti, University of Texas at El Paso


The year is 2020, but here we are still living in a male dominated society. We remain constantly reminded and surrounded by the mentality that certain activities and career choices are better suited for men over women. We even endure these depictions in literature, on the big screen, and on television. Action films, war movies and novels, and crime dramas show the protagonists and supporting characters as males. There are rare occasions where you may find a female actress or literary character protagonist, and when this happens, she is not depicted with the same strength, knowledge, respect, or importance. She is considered weaker, having to prove herself, but not always given the opportunity to do so. Reyna Montoya experienced the traumatizing experience of seeing her parents killed in their home in Cuba when she was seventeen, by someone her parents knew. She and her best friend Nicolás fled the country to Miami Beach, Florida. She buried the trauma and joined the military to make her parents proud. Her military career moved them around every few years, but they always remained grounded in their roots and relationship. While on an assignment her memory is triggered, showing the reader a quick flashback, and causing her to disobey orders. Everything else that happens in the novel spirals from this point, cause and effect. She comes to the realization, even though it’s twenty years after the death of her parents, that she wants to find the killer, if he’s still alive, and finally get the closure she needs to get well mentally.

Subject Area

Creative writing|Mental health|Womens studies|Military studies

Recommended Citation

Liotti, Marlene, "Shadows of Yesterday" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28315861.