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Florida -Garilaso de la Vega paints the image of a brave fight between a Tula Indian and four Spaniards one of whom is on horseback. -The Tula Indian despite receiving sever wounds during the battle with the first three Spaniards he manages to inflict as serious a damage as he receives. -At the end of the struggle the Spaniard who defeats the Tulan Indian, named Gonzalo Silvestre, retells the battle to his superior whom along with others marvels at this lone Indians tenacity and valor.
Jose Marti-Marti is Cuba’s most beloved poets and revolutionary leader. Though he lived in the USA for most of his life he strongly opposed the annexation of Cuba to the USA. -His most famous work is Simple Verses a book of poems which most people know today to the rhythm of Guantanamera. -Marti was very proud of the his Cuban Heritage and a strong advocate in defense of helping to view Cubans, not as helpless refugees, but strong and highly educated men and women who are capable of overcomingthe many transgressions of life.
Tabaqueros -Memoirs of Bernardo Vega tell of the tradition and customs of the cigar makers of the early 1900’s. -These men who hailed from different Latin American countries all shared a common interest in the political awareness of the working class. -One common tradition was that of having a reader in every tobacco company who would read to all the workers present to stimulate and feed the workers mind with current events as well as political and other literary stimulants.
Mexican Village-Josephina Niggli author of Mexican Village tells the tale of a small village in preparation of an upcoming wedding. -In the story the bride begs her groom to buy her a pair of shoes, something uncommon in the very humble village where they reside. -He then finds himself in the dilemma of fulfilling his future wife’s desire or thinking of their future and buyingsomething which, in their small town, means prosperity: a goat.
Julia de Burgos-One of Puerto Rico’s most beloved poets, she wrote of her love and identification with her country as well as quest for her self and authenticity as a woman.-Burgos poems often reflect the conflict immigrants feel upon moving to a new place: the yearn for the old and familiar, the hate for new, unknown and at times unwelcoming, and the fear of loosing complete ties with either one, starting over and not knowing where they belong anymore.-Burgos was known for her mystery life style, creative , brave and original works, and was a stepping guide to future writers as to how to tell their tales and live their lives.
Cleofas Jaramillo-Born in Norther New Mexico, she hailed from a wealthy mexican family, who were among the original pioneers of to migrate. -She believed in the importance of preserving Mexican Culture espicially in a time where, upon their moves, many 2nd generation Mexicans were not showing much interest in preserving their cultural history.
God in Harlem-Pedro Juan Soto tells the story of Nena a Puerto Rican woman who, like most migrants of the early 1940’s, struggles to survive a harsh life of poverty, she and find a meaning to her life.-She finds herself pregnant by her abusive boyfriend, who tricks her into thinking he is willing to settle down with her and their baby.-While trying to overcome his disappearance and betrayal, Nena, she manages to see a light at the end of the dark tunnel that is her life and finds herself reborn in Christianity.
AmericoParedes-The Hammon and the Beans is AmericoParedes way of informing his readers of the rift that exists in the border-land towns near Fort Jones, Texas.-The tale of a man recalling from his childhood a young poor Mexican girl who would proudly climb a fence and recite what she over heard the soldiers in the mess hall say, but because she did not speak their language she would simply say: “Give me the Hammon and the Beans”.The tale goes on to speak of how the death of the young girl impacted the narrator in ways he was not able to fully comprehend himself as well as the huge dividend that existed in the small town he lived in between the Mexicans of humble bearings and the soldiers living within Fort JOnes.
I Am Joaquin -A poem by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales which tells of the pride many Mexicans feel for their mestizorace. -I Am Joaquin is known as a map for the historic continuity Mexican history. -It predates before the time of Spanish conquest to the present day. By using the term “I” Gonzales is able to allow all readers to identify with him in his entry to political, social and ethnic awareness
Piri Thomas -Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas tells of the authors life growing up during a time where racial tensions where at its peak. -Thomas, begins with recalling his move from, his common streets of el Barrio, in NYC, to the suburbs of Long Island, where he encounters for the first time racial discrimination at its fullest by his fellow classmates. -Before his move, his friend told him that the whites in L.I. were worse then those he was used to in his neighborhood, building inside Thomas a dilemma as to whether what his friend said was true or if his new found friends would prove to be an exception.
Victor Hernandez Cruz-Hernandez Cruz greatest influence in his writing is due in part to his migrations fromAguasBuenas, Puerto Rico, to Spanish Harlem.-His poems and other works are a fusion of both language and culture and broad views of world events then other writers of his time. -He is known for using rhythm in his poems and his works have been referred to as “Puerto Rican Soul Music.
Must be the of the Season Witch -Alurista uses this poem to compare the loss of Mexican culture to that of the myth La Llorona who murdered her children to be with her lover. -The comparison is that just as La Llorona sacrificed her children to be with a man, Mexicans sacrificed their culture, their heritage, when they chose to migrate to a country and adopt foreign customs to traditional beliefs.
Rudolfo Anaya -Author of Bless Me, Ultima, tells the tale of young Antonio, a young Mexican boy who must decide where his fate will lye. -Antonio’s father side of the family are wild and free spirited and like his elder brothers his father wishes for him to be the same, but his mother like her family are quite and Christian and she wants him to follow in that path, so Antonio must decide on the two. -Antonio forms a bond with his grandmother, Ultima, who comes to live with them when he is seven years old. She is a curandera, a healer of the spirits. Not content with either the Christian Faith nor the unruliness which his brothers live by, Antonio finds comfort and connection with Nature like his grandmother, Ultima.
Revolt of the Cockroach People -Oscar Zeta Acosta’s autobiographical work is the authors recount of the take over of St. Basil Roman Catholic Church in California by Chicano activist. -The recount takes place between Christmas and New years and while inside of the church a mass is being held to commemorate such an important event, Mexican devout are not allowed inside while the white upper class is holding mass. -The people decide to barge into the church but are unaware of the fact that inside the LAPD has disguised themselves among the clergy in the hopes to arrest any chicano they can for disturbance.
Nicholasa Mohr-Mohr is both a writer and a painter. He books are mainly about the coming of age of young adolescent females in NYC, predominantly in Latin communities, during a time when the Puerto Rican was experiencing a change from one generation to another.-The females in her books usually experience strong metamorphose, spiritually, physically, emotionally,and psychological.
Puerto Rican Obituary -A poem by Pedro Pietri, though he only mentions the names of 5 Puerto Rican immigrants their tale of hard work, silent submission, failed dreams and longing is that of all immigrants. -Puerto Rican Obituary reminds Puerto Ricans to seek the beauty of their culture and to embrace it, never to turn their backs on their roots.
Short Eyes -Short Eyes by Miguel Pinero is the story of a white inmate imprisoned with Latinos, Blacks and other minorities. -Short Eyes is a jail term used for people who are convicted for raping children. -The inmate, Clark, once his fellow inmates find out of his conviction they begin to make life in prison even more difficult for him, without really knowing if he was guilty or not.
Dolores Prida-Brilliant playwright who is known commonly for her humor and exaggeration of commonstereotypes, primarily those of Latina women.-The search for an identity of US Latina women, the fragile approach towards absorption of a new culture andthe years of repression women have endured are common themes she touches in her works. -
Zoot Suit-By Luis Valez, Zoot Suit, tell the story of a group of Mexican Pachuco friends who get caught up in a fight at a dance and because of their, Pachuco, appearance are wrongly accused of a murder they did not commit. -Valdez opens the minds of his audience by acquitting the young men at the end and having several different endings, some good and happy others not so, but the purpose of it was to open the minds of all his audiiences to the fact that just because you are a Mexican or Latino or any other nationality for that matter it does not mean that the labels society or the media places on a person must be true.
My Graduation Speech -TatoLaviera’s poem My Graduation Speech is an encouragement for all Latin speaking immigrants to be proud of their roots. -In it Laviera shines light on the thoughts of many Latin’s who upon arriving in US of A and are forced to now speak two languages, the difficulties that they have managing both. -Towards the end Laviera draws the conclusion that he will speak both languages as he pleases and it is up to others to understand his way of speaking.
A la MujerBorrinquena -BORRINQUENA comes from the native name given to Puerto Rico, Borrinquen, Borriquena is a native name given to a woman from that island. -Written by Sandra Maria Estevez, this poem speaks of the pride of Puerto Rican Women. -In the poem, Estevez, speaks of the pride and connection a woman from Puerto Rico feels with her homeland, despite being born in America. -She calls herself the “mother of a new age of warriors”, referring to others, whom like herself were not born on the island.
For Ana Veldford -Written by Cuban writer, Lourdes Casal, this poem speaks of the how a person can feel like they belong one place and at the same time not. -Lourdes Casal, a cuban exile, writes here that when she is not in NYC she feels homesick and yearns for the smells of the familiar streets she knows, yet when she is here, she is constantly reminded that NYC is not her country of origin, but a place where she immigrated to in the latter part of her life. -She comments that in NY she is too Cuban to be considered a New Yorker and when in Cuba she is too much of a New Yorker to be a Cuban, and thus describes the feeling of not belonging that all immigrants feel when they leave their homelands and then return to it once again.
Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez-Richard Rodriguez, one of Mexico’s, most accomplished essayist, wrote a collection of autobiographical essayswhere he talks about many important political and social issues that took place during his formation. -In Hunger of Memory, one of the things which Rodriguez discusses that stand out the most, was of how he felt robbed of his native language because, during his childhood, being educated in an Irish Catholic School, he was forced to speak English, and to Nuns, educators, of his school asked his parents to speak to him only English because this will help to prepare him to form a more integrated part of society. -His parents conceeded and since then he feels that he was robbed of his ethnic roots because they choose to, instead of teaching him about his native culture, raise him with what others believed to be best.
Installments-Written by Edward Rivera, Family Installments, can be read as the tales most immigrant children experiencewhen forced to move at a tender age to a place where they know no one, where they’re not welcomed by some and do not even speak the language.. -Santos, the main character, arrived from Puerto Rico and now attends a Catholic middle school, where he has many confrontations with his teachers for being shy and not have complete domination over the English Language. He later comes to terms that and education and literature are his best escapes from the pressure he receives from professors, older siblings and society in general -Most memorable moment is when Santos, upon being given and excruciatingly difficult exam by his professor Bro. Leary, he and his friend decide to take matters into their own hand and bombard his prof. with water balloons from the rooftop.
A Long Line of Vendidas-By Cherrie Moraga, relates the tale of how at a young age a young Latina identified herself with her Chicano roots.-She remembers how she was raised to continue the traditions of most Spanish cultures, where the woman is to be in the kitchen and tend to the needs of the men in her house hold and how she dreaded this even from them.-She recalls, when she was eight and went to visit her mother who had been hospitalized for some time, upon reaching her side and embracing her, she says that the smell of her mom is a smell she associated with life and home and feeling welcomed, a place where she was uplifted and sustained.
Moths -Moths, a fiction story by Helena Maria Viramontes is about a fourteen year old chicano girl recalling the sense of belonging when visiting her grandmothers home. -She remembers how, when in her home she felt she could not measure up to her older sisters, it was at her grandmothers home, helping her do chores around the house, that she felt any sense of comfort. She remembers how as a child her grandmother used old remedies to cure her of her colds and other illnesses. -Viramontes paints an very descriptive story line, giving the reader a sense of actually seeing and smelling all the different things in the grandmother kitchen. -When her grandmother dies, the narator recalls how she carefully bathed her grandmother and prepared her for her funeral.
Borderlands/ La Frontera: The new Mestiza -Gloria Anzaldua is known for her literary mestizaje, she mixes her poetic writing with historical facts, any philosophical theories. -How to Tame a Wild Tongue she discusses the various interpretations of Spanish she heard and uses growing up and throughout adult hood. Though she focuses on her Mexican roots and uses just the Spanish language she discusses how this one language is divided or divides the people who use it despite all belonging to one ethnicity. -in the end she concludes that despite the various variations of Spanish that are spoken, Mexicans are proud race who know who they are and where they come from and their place in the formation of this country.
Women Hollering Creek -Sandra Cisneros is known for re-mythizing classic folk tales and adding a twist in which the women of the folks, where at first painted as weak women with no will are now remade to be strong and fierce. -Women of Hollering Creek, one of the stories of Cleofilas who dreams of a perfect love like the soap operas she saw on t.v., unfortunetly when she thinks she has found the man of her dreams, he winds up abusing her and she lives a dreadful life, because though she knows she has the support of her father she is ashamed of what people will say if she were to return to her family home with a failed marriage and children. -She goes to a hospital for her prenatal checkups and after viewing how bruised she is, she meets two women who help her to find the strength and courage to escape her abusive husband and return home to her family.
Dreaming in Cuban-Written by Cristina Garcia Dreaming in Cuban is an original tale of three generation of Cuban womenand the different lives that they have taken after the Cuban Revolution. -This particular excerpt focus is primarily on the second and third generation of the del Pino family, Pilar, and her mother Lourdes.-Lourdes strongly opposes the revolution and its leader, Fidel, and moves her daughter to NY, where she monitors her every move and invades her privacy. Lourdes manages to open a successful bakery in NY where she likes to unite Cuban’s whom like herself despised what their country has become and its new leader. Pilar who claims to have memories of her grandmother and life in Cuba years for those times and wishes for nothing more then to return home, to Cuban..
Judith Ortiz Cofer-Unlike most Puerto Rican writers who’s stories are primarily based in the Spanish barrios of NYC, Judith O. Cofertell her story from her home town in Patterson New Jersey.American History is about a young girls first love and first bitter taste of racial discrimination. The protagonist, a shy Puerto Rican girl, falls in love with a fellow classmate from the south.-on the day of President Kennedy’s death she made arrangements to go to his house to study despite the fact that she knew the whole country was in mournig, she was ecstatic, yet when she makes it to her new friends home, she is told clearly by his mother that she is not welcomed into her home and does not want her to associate with her son.
The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O’Brien -Oscar Hijuelos in this very descriptive novel tells the story of Montez O’Brien who was the youngest child of an Irish photographer and Cuban mother and had 14 older sisters. -He describes all of his sisters as well as their attributes, talents and wiles and how each shaped him into the man he later became.
Cuco Goes to a Party -written by Mario Suarez, Cuco Goes to a Party is about a young married man who is tired of doing things the way his in-laws feel is the best way to do things. -One day after work he decides that instead of going straight home after work he will go with his friends for a drink to celebrate the birthday of one of them. -They have a great time while out together. Cuco especially recalls how much fun he had watching bull-fights in Mexico and demonstrates to his friend his good knowledge on the subject he really likes. -Unfortunately the next day while all of his other friends are still happy because of the great time they had the night before, Cuco is no so happy because his in-laws are using this opportunity to put his wife against him and to bring him down at any thing negative they find about him.