Chicana writers in the United States write to inspire social change, to challenge a patriarchal and homophobic culture, to redefine traditional gender roles, and to influence the future. Alvina E. Quintana examines how Chicana writers engage literary convention through fiction, poetry, drama, and autobiography as a means of addressing these motives. Her analysis of the writings of Gloria Anzaldua, Ana Castillo, Denise Chavez, Sandra Cisneros, and Cherrie Moraga addresses a multitude of issues: the social and political forces that influenced the Chicana aesthetic; Chicana efforts to open a dialogue about the limitation of both Anglo-American feminism and Chicano nationalism; experimentations with content and form; the relationship between imaginative writing and self-reflexive ethnography; and performance, domesticity, and sexuality. Employing anthropological, feminist, historical, and literary sources, Quintana explores the continuity found among Chicanas' writing across varied genres - a drive to write themselves into being. Alvina E. Quintana is Associate Professor of English at the University of Delaware.