In the altar’s center is “a plaster image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, quarter-life size, its brown Indian face staring down on the woman” (Paredes 23). The implication of the stare is of criticism as the Virgin, symbolic of an ideal Mexican womanhood, looks down on Marcela, whose Anglo features starkly contrast with the Virgin’s, and whose actions are in opposition to the values that she represents. This carefully constructed scene is meaningful. Marcela’s lifeless body lies between the bed and the altar, and opposite to the altar is Marcela’s shrine dedicated to Hollywood movie stars. These are the visual images of the opposing forces that characterize the Mexican-American struggle for resistance against American cultural hegemony.
In the 1960’s, the United States went through a period of clarity and diversity in thought, analysis and action for people from Mexico or those who practiced the Mexican culture. Issues of deep resonance and problems both Mexican and American communities faced were brought to light through different platforms that include multiple socio-political mobilizations, art, and music all throughout the country (Cockcroft, 1993). This later ensued into battles of cultural reclamation and self-determination that combined into a national consciousness called the Chicano Movement. The Chicano Art Movement represents the attempts made by Mexican-American artists in establishing a unique artistic identity in the United States. Most of the Chicanos belonged
During the 19th century, there were many artists who were under the impression that they could not create art pieces such as, modernist abstraction, naturalistic realism, panoramic landscape, or reclining nudes (Pohl 359). This led to the artists traveling south of Mexico in the 1920s (Pohl 359). Mexico’s artistic scene, cheaper cost of living, beautiful climate, and intriguing culture caught the interest of a lot of different artists and pursued them moving (Pohl 359). The image so many artists were interested in capturing through their works of art was the faultless Mexican peasant rather than the radical one (Pohl 360). This concept they had was formed off the tourist writings (Pohl 360).
The immigrants entering the United States throughout its history have always had a profound effect on American culture. However, the identity of immigrant groups has been fundamentally challenged and shaped as they attempt to integrate into U.S. society. The influx of Mexicans into the United States has become a controversial political issue that necessitates a comprehensive understanding of their cultural themes and sense of identity. The film Mi Familia (or My Family) covers the journey and experiences of one Mexican-American (or “Chicano”) family from Mexico as they start a new life in the United States. Throughout the course of the film, the same essential conflicts and themes that epitomize Chicano identity in other works of literature
The Mexican-American culture has undergone a lot of changes over time. Through the studies by Anzaldúa (530) and Menchaca (45), it can be seen how the culture has changed from ‘Chicano’ to ‘Chicana/o’ and finally to ‘Xicanx.’ Resistance
Gloria Anzaldúa's personal experience growing up in the Rio Grande Valley was inspiration for Borderlands, which was published in 1987. In this highly acclaimed work, she explores the effects of the Mexican-American border on her self-identification as mixed race, Chicana, a woman, and a lesbian. Shunned from each of these groups, Anzaldúa creates a new mestiza identity which both allows for and encourages a synthesis of disparate elements of identity into a synergistic whole. A mestiza is a woman of mixed Caucasian, Hispanic, and Native American descent. This consciousness which encourages opposition and contradiction is made necessary by the conditions created by the geographical, political, and psychological border.
Humans are like parrots; what society tells them, they repeat and believe to be true. However, this habit often creates unseen barriers that divide and alienate people from one another. In Luis Alberto Urrea’s book The Devil’s Highway, Urrea tells the story of 26 illegal immigrants who are abandoned as they attempt to cross the Mexico-U.S. border. Through their story, Urrea reveals that there are invisible borders that create discrimination, such as language, ethnicity, and economic status. In order to break down these borders, education is essential to prove that they are unnecessary constructions of society.
On July 21, 2015, I had the opportunity to take a trip down to “The Great Wall of Los Angeles”. I was amazed to see the creativity and the empowerment of the art. The wall is a mural designed by Judith Baca, and a group of community youth from diverse ethnical backgrounds. The mural paints the history of California through different eras; it starts with colonialism and makes its way to the Chicano Movement of the 1960s.
It embodies its beauty and its ugly, its replenishing deep and glowing symbols (Tibol, 75) His works describe the evolution of stages and use of different spirits. His purpose for creating this piece was to transform muralism in Mexico and changed the portrayal of authoritative figures. Overall, it was a socialist political message. His artistic style is important because many of the murals depict a Mexican landscape loaded with “political, cultural and historical imagery designed to hold the Mexican people into a new era of national pride.”
“Aztlan, Cibola and Frontier New Spain” is a chapter in Between the Conquests written by John R. Chavez. In this chapter Chavez states how Chicano and other indigenous American ancestors had migrated and how the migration help form an important part of the Chicanos image of themselves as a natives of the south. “The Racial Politics behind the Settlement of New Mexico” is the second chapter by Martha Menchaca.
Humans rarely change their ways; they stay in their own worlds and always interact with the same types of people. Unfortunately, this habit often creates unseen barriers that divide and alienate human beings from one another. In Luis Alberto Urrea’s book The Devil’s Highway, Urrea provides a personal perspective to immigration by telling the story of 26 illegal immigrants, known as the Wellton 26, who are abandoned as they cross the Mexico-U.S. border. Through their story, Urrea proves there are invisible borders among people that create prejudice, such as language, ethnicity, and economic status. By reading The Devil’s Highway, it is clear that these barriers must be broken down to ensure harmony within society.
The majority of illegal immigrant’s chances for success is limited. It is more likely for people who have already been successful in life to achieve their dream than those have not had the chance to. The Tortilla Curtain illustrates the hardships and the discriminations illegal immigrants face with higher class Americans. The coyotes symbolize the immigrant’s lifestyle and how they are viewed with disdain and mistrust. The Arroyo Blanco community presents those who view the immigrants as such, and how difficult it is to break down ignorance barriers to be accepted into it.
In the poem “To live in the Borderlands means you”, the borderlands become a place of change, such as changing from just one culture or race into a diverse culture or race and not-belonging. (Singh, A., & Schmidt, P. 2000). The poem describes how the author’s own background ethnicity people, mixicanas, identifies people like her, chicanas, as “split or mixture that means to betray your word and they deny “Anlo inside you.” (Anzaldua, F. 1987). The poem describes that the borderland is a place of contradiction, such as of home not being a home.
“Passport Photos” by Amitava Kumar is an excerpt combining poetry and photography, and making it into a cultural analysis over immigrant conditions. The author explains complicated situations that immigrants have had to deal with when they step towards the U.S. and one of the main conflicts will be language. This piece has described historical moments, such as mentioning “Alfred Arteaga” and the irony of deportation and printing, cultural critiques, and the reality when it comes to the Hispanic cultures. Kumar reflects his book based on a significant image saying “Caution” in English and “Prohibido” in Spanish. In other words, the sign is telling citizens, “Caution”: be careful by avoiding danger, but then it is telling immigrant’s “Prohibido”,
From the start, it is clear that T.C. Boyle’s Tortilla Curtain aims to shed a light on the topic of Mexican immigrants in the United States. However, by having both a Mexican and an American woman share similar violent experiences with men, Boyle also places an emphasis on the less pronounced theme of sexual violence and discrimination against women, even in polar opposite realities. Early on, an invisible bond begins to form between the two main female characters, America, a recent Mexican immigrant and mother to be, and Kyra a successful white businessman. And while they never actually meet one another, as they endure and recover from their own personal problematic experiences with certain men, they are affected immensely by these events. America tries her best balance her new life of being an illegal, living in the ravine of Topanga Canyon with Candido, finding work and preparing for her baby to come.