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…y no se lo tragÓ la Tierra …And the earth did not devour him

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  1. A presentation by: Laura Martinez Tonya Valdez By Tomás Rivera …y no se lo tragÓ la Tierra…And the earth did not devour him Photograph courtesy Image courtesy of:

  2. Born 1935 in Crystal City, Texas. Son of Mexican citizens. Worked as a farm laborer in the 1950’s. Pursued higher education at Southwest Texas State University, graduating with a degree in English. Was unable to find work at first due to his being a Mexican American. Returned to college to earn his master’s in English, and went on even further to earn his PhD in romance languages and literature at University of Oklahoma. Writings were influenced by the hardships that Mexican Americans faced during the 1940’s to 1950’s (Migrant). Died in 1984 due to a heart attack. Biography

  3. As mentioned before, Rivera was influenced by the hardships faced by migrant workers during the 1940’s and 1950’s (Hispanic). Having grown up during this period, he witnessed quite a bit first hand and was able to translate what he saw around him into his writings. Some of the major influences during these time periods would be: the drafting of Mexican Americans to fight during WWII, the start of the Bracero Program, racial discrimination, as well as spiritual and cultural practices. Influences

  4. During the war, just like African Americans, Mexican Americans had been drafted to fight and die for a surrogate country that they believed in strongly. While many didn’t wish to go, they left their families behind to pray for their safe return while they fought on the front lines. They were fighting and dying to try and create a better future not just for their country, but for their families as well (Latinos). Young Mexican American Soldier Photo Courtesy of: War Times

  5. Many Mexican Americans hoped that in doing this, racial differences would ease and allow for a better integration for the youth, instead of segregation. During the war, Mexican Americans were among some of the first to see combat during the war. Due to their bravery and courage shown during battle, the country began to look at Mexican Americans in a knew light. However, it still wasn’t enough to change the minds of the Anglos who continued to segregate them (Latinos). Photo Courtesy: War Times

  6. Migrant workers hoping to be picked for the Bracero Program Photo Courtesy: Braceros During WWII, the U.S. Government enacted the Emergency Labor Program, known as the Bracero Program, which allowed many workers from Mexico to come into the U.S. for a set time (Hispanic). Workers, known as Braceros, were often squashed together in camps that acted as their living quarters. The camps were adequate, but far from comfortable (Gamboa).

  7. Braceros Photo Courtesy: It was hard and barely rewarding work, having to put up with the harsh conditions, poor pay, and greedy contractors in order to earn enough money to send back to their families to provide for them. For example, the “back breaking work” was usually reserved for the Mexicans because, unlike the white employed workers, the Mexicans took on just about any job that was given to them; even if the pay was poor. In their eyes, it was good money that they could desperately use (Gamboa).

  8. Racial Discrimination During WWII, zoot suits began to spring up everywhere in Los Angeles. While segregation was already at a high, many Anglos began to associate those who wore zoot suits with trouble; and since many Mexican American youths had taken a liking to the style, naturally Mexicans were labeled as no good. Fights broke out, which led to riots, which led Americans to believe that the Mexican Americans were savage people and that they didn’t belong in the U.S. (People). Photo Courtesy:

  9. Zoot Suit Riot Link Click Me → Image courtesy of:

  10. Even after WWII was over, segregation continued. The Mexican Americans still had to attend segregated schools, eat at segregated restaurants, live in separate neighborhoods away from the Anglos, and basically remain out of sight. They were treated as if they were inferior to the Anglos in every way. The Anglos even went as far as to restore some of the cultural buildings and places of the South just to draw in tourists and earn cash to fill their pockets. It was in no way to help the people that truly cherished and upheld their heritage; they were just exploited (Mexican). Racial Discrimination

  11. Most Mexican Americans are very spiritual. All usually belonging to either the Christian or Catholic faith. Having extremely strong ties to the teachings they grew up on as they pass milestones within the church that only help to strengthen their bond with God, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and the many other saints that they pray to daily. During the tough times is when many Mexican Americans relied on prayer the most. Turning to it to help them through their hardships and trials that were presented to them at the time. Their strong faith was a big reason that allowed them to persevere through it all, even when it seemed like all was against them. Spiritual & Cultural ties

  12. In understanding everything that was going on during this time, we can gain a better understanding of what Rivera was going through himself as it happened around him. Taking in everything that his people faced during this time, he was able to create various short stories that allowed us insight, even if just a little, into his fictitious characters’ world. This allowed us to understand how they felt about being a laborer in the fields, barely earning anything. It showed us how discrimination ran deep through the south in both the parents and youth. It proved that while some can be crooked thieves, others are honest and fair citizens and that their culture and spirituality are extremely important; it is something that they wouldn’t give up for the world. Rivera wanted to show us the struggle that his people faced, and how they were able to cope and rise above it all despite everything that had been thrown at them. Putting It All Together

  13. One of Tomás Rivera’s most classic novels, …And the Earth Did Not Devour Him was written very differently than a traditional novel. The story of a young migrant boy’s life experiences is written through a collection of short stories and anecdotes; some of the stories are told directly by the young boy or a relative and some are delivered through third-person narrative(Meet Tomás Rivera). …And the Earth Did Not Devour Him Image courtesy of:

  14. “What his mother never knew…” (Rivera 83) gives readers a window into some of the young boy’s family culture. Leaving a glass under the bed for spirits was a common practice in Mexican culture. The belief was that the water was an offering to keep bad spirits away; some people also believed that cracking an egg in a dish of water and leaving it under the bed would ward away ‘the evil eye’ from you while you slept (Spiritual Illness: Mal de Ojo). Traditions Revealed “El mal de ojo” Image courtesy of:

  15. “A Prayer” (Rivera 90) is the heart wrenching plea of a mother to her religious idols to spare the life of her son who was sent to war. The majority of Mexican Americans are Roman Catholic, and follow their beliefs of the symbolism of various figures in Catholicism (Mexican American Culture). Traditions revealed Image courtesy of:

  16. In “A Prayer”, the mother prays to the following figures: • God, Jesus Christ • Virgin Mary • Virgen de San Juan • Virgen de Guadalupe • Virgen de San Juan del Valle Excluding God, Jesus Christ, all of the other figures the mother prays to are versions of the Virgin Mary, who in the Roman Catholic Bible gives birth to the son of God, Jesus Christ. Mexican American culture expresses a very large importance in recognizing and praying to the Virgin Mary for safety, help and guidance (Our History). Traditions Revealed Image courtesy of:

  17. In “A Silvery Night” (Rivera 104) a young individual is very curious about whether the devil exists and decides to call upon him based on what he knows within his culture. He says “I’ll call him right at twelve. I better take the clock so I’ll know when it’s exactly twelve. Otherwise, he might not come. It has to be right at midnight, exactly midnight” (Rivera 105). The child is very firm that the devil cannot be called on unless it is midnight. Calling upon evil spirits or the devil at midnight dates back as far as the 1800s when it was believed that the devil only did his work in the darkest part of the night, which was believed to begin at midnight (What Is The Witching Hour). Traditions Revealed

  18. “…And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him” was the film adaptation of Rivera’s novel. It was a drama released in 1995 that put together the short stories in Rivera’s novel to create a full-length feature film. The film received five nominations and won one NCLR Bravo Award in 1996 (IMDb). The Film Image courtesy of:

  19. “This landmark of Chicano cinema is an adaptation of Tomas Rivera's 1971 novel of the same title. Told from the perspective of Marcos, the 12-year-old son of migrant Mexican-American farm workers, the film follows their travels over the course of a year, each of its 12 sections linked to a month of the calendar. The family starts off in Texas at the beginning of harvest season. Their hardscrabble journey takes them across the length and breadth of the Midwest. Along the way, Marcos and his family encounter a rich, difficult, and, at times, pathetic cast of characters including other migrant workers, a shoe salesman, and, in the most startling part of the film, white Americans. Through these encounters, Marcos comes to understand his place in the order of things, namely, near the bottom, discovers the power of familial bonds to comfort and overcome hardship, and uncovers in himself a desire to learn and educate.” –New York Times Review By Brian Whitener, Courtesy of The New York Times The Film Image courtesy of:

  20. Brian Whitener’s famous New York Times review of the film …And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him reveals the similarities between the film and the novel itself …And the Earth Did Not Devour Him. While many of the family bonds and locations are implied in the novel, the film takes creative liberties to bring together what is implied in the novel as well as add meat to the short stories that make up the important cultural story pieced together in the novel. The novel itself does not assign many names throughout, but the film does give a name to the young boy whose family hardships are recorded throughout the short stories in the novel; his name is Marcos (New York Times). The closeness of the film’s story to the novel itself makes it a good option as a supplemental guide to put images and faces to the vivid short stories collected in …And the Earth Did Not Devour Him. The Film

  21. A clip from the Film Click Me → Image courtesy of:

  22. While …And The Earth Did Not Devour Him was praised as a novel written in a unique style, it should also be praised for the inclusion of so many aspects of what was going on during the 40’s and 50’s and the insight into the minds of Mexican Americans during that time. Not only is the novel creative, artistic and individual, but it also speaks, something that is difficult to find in just any novel. Rivera’s novel is the voice of a young, adolescent growing up in a world that was marked with racism, war, changes in economy and difficulties experienced in culture clash. Through experiencing these difficulties, Rivera was able to write from the heart and put how those experiences made him feel into words; words that any reader can appreciate when enjoying his timeless novel. Novel Conclusion

  23. “Migrant Struggle”. American Passages: A Literary Survey. Web. 22 January 2013. “Hispanic Americans: Migrant Workers and Braceros (1930s-1964)”. California Cultures. The Regents of The University of California. Web. 22 January 2013. “Latinos, World War I and World War II”. U.S. History in Context. Web. 22 January 2013. Works Cited

  24. Gamboa, Erasmo. “The Daily Life of the Bracero”. The Braceros: The Oregon Experience. Web. 22 January 2013. “People & Events: The Zoot Suit Riots of 1943”. American Experiences. Web. 25 January 2013. “Mexican Americans”. Countries and Their Cultures. Web. 25 January 2013. “Meet Tomas Rivera”. Study Guide for …And the Earth Did Not Devour Him. Web. 26 January 2012. “Spiritual Illness: Mal de Ojo”. Curious Curandera. Web. 26 January 2012. Works Cited

  25. “Mexican American Culture”. Country Facts: The World At Your Fingertips. Web. 25 January 2013. “Our History”. Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan de Valle National Shrine. Web. 24 January 2013. “What Is the Witching Hour?”. wiseGEEK: Clear Answers For Common Questions. Web. 24 January 2013. “…And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him”. IMBd. Web. 26 January 2013. The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 2010. Web. 23 January 2013. Works Cited

  26. Rivera, Tomás. …Y No Se Lo Tragó La Tierra (…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him). Houston: Arte Publico Press, 1992. Print. The New York Times Review of “…And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him”. The New York Times. Web. 25 January 2013. Works Cited