American Literature 05.04.2016 (2016)Apunte Inglés
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The House on Mango Street is a classic. It deals with Hispanic literature. Until 1848, the
Mexican War, the South belonged to Mexico -and then to Spain- and the people there talked
Spanish. The term ‘Chicano’ comes from ‘Mexicano’.
Ilian Stavans xi ‘Origins’: he talks about how Spanglish is spoken by millions in the US and it is a hybrid between Spanish and English. “Hispanics are the symbol of an encounter citizens with polarized identities-. But they communicate with the Anglos and other minorities, therefore adapting, reshaping, reinventing their inner most experience. Although diverse in backgrounds and nationalities, their collective identity is one”.
The House has been sold as an autobiography, when dealing with immigrant literature, this genre is use, because by talking of oneself, one talks about becoming, shaping an identity.
The House is not autobiographical. Cisneros constructs the sense of self using other texts, it’s a cannibal text, fairytales.
-Borderlands/ La Frontera. The New Mestiza. By Gloria Anzaldúa. The Homeland (El otro México), Aztlán is a mythical land --> Towards a new consciousness. La Conciencia de la Mestiza-.
“The US Mexican border es una herida abierta where the third world grates against the first and bleeds. And before a scab forms, it hemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two worlds merging to for a third country -a border culture”. Gloria Anzaldúa.
She talks about “being a crossroads”. She was gay and she reflects this in this saying.
“Because I, a mestiza”. It’s a politics of inclusion -not exclusion.
The House on Mango Street. She lives in a ghetto, a barrio. From this racial, ideological, cultural and biological crosspolinization, an “alien” consciousness is presently in the making --- a new mestiza consciousnouss, una conciencia de mujer.
It is a consciousness of the Borderlands. Many characters in the House resemble cholas, harcore latina gangbangers. Nephtali is a Spanglish poet, writer... Todos Somos Arizona.
She copied Frieda Kahlo’s style, whose personality and work was overshadowed by her husband Diego Rivera. She made the most out of her pain and grief. She wanted to defend the other culture which she did by performing an act with her clothes etc. Cisneros used her iconography, a very commercial fact. Tina Modotti, a journalist, a photographer, captured the essence of the Mexican popular classes. Julio Romero de Torres.
THEMES. Exoticism sells, it must not be that challenging to the American status quo.
Resistance vs assimilation. Betrayal of ethnic world vs embracing of the American dream.
The house is the centre of the narration. Street = Barrio, a macrocosmos where the protagonist Esperanza lives. The house will be very controversial, houses can be both imprisoning and liberating.
Unybook: arodrigueslopez Shotgun houses. Embodiment of all the imprisoning world Esperanza believes she can escape from. She is a catholic Chicana girl. The sense of escaping entails a betrayal of her community. In Mexican culture, this betrayal goes back to the historical figure of La Malinche or La Lengua. She was a native Aztec who becomes the translator for Hernán Cortés. She speaks Spanish and several other native languages. She becomes his mistress and she has a baby with him called Martín. The Mexicans question their identity and say they are “hijos de la chingada” because they realize they are a mestizo/bastard race. So La Malinche in La Paz becomes a traitor who betrays her own people. Pocahontas and John Smith is a reshaping of this.