Friday, October 30, 2009


Type: That by which something is symbolized or figured; anything having a symbolic signification; a symbol, emblem

Prototype: The first or primary type of a person or thing; an original on which something is modelled or from which it is derived; an exemplar, an archetype

Archetype: In the psychology of C. G. Jung: a pervasive idea, image, or symbol that forms part of the collective unconscious.

(from the Oxford English

Dictionary Online)

“To us the images of Loteria cards and boards weren’t types but prototypes and archetypes in the nation’s psyche. To play a single game was to traverse the inner chambers of la mexicanidad” (Stavans 27).

It is reported that the game Loteria first gained widespread popularity in Mexico after a shrewd French entrepeneur, Don Clemente Jacques, began distributing boards for the game alongside the canned foods that his company provided for soldiers during the Mexican Revolution. When the dust from the war settled, the soldiers had not forgotten about the game that they had played to while away the hours on the lines of battle, and Jacques had to use “the same press he used to create food labels” (26) just to keep up with demand. And so it is that one of Mexico’s national pastimes grew up alongside one of the most important events in her history.

Appropriately so, I think.

For one thing, the game carries immense social significance: one form of the game, La Loteria Nacional, offers the chance to win riches for the cost of a single peso. The competitive form of the game, meanwhile, acts as a meeting place for family, friends, and neighbors to gather around and socialize while coming up with clever riddles and poetic nuggets to outwit the other players.

However, one of the most profound aspects of the game may be in the images themselves. Each of the cards depicts a vivid illustration of an object or person taken out of Mexican culture. But these pictures can’t be reduced to mere cultural artifacts. They’re not simply representations of what people think of when they think of Mexico. In one interpretation, they are symbols taken out of the Mexican consciousness, ripe with varied signs as to what it means to be Mexican.

Works Cited

Stavans, Ilan "Mexico's Ritual of Chance." Americas 57.1 (2005): 22-27. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 30 Oct. 2009.

La Loteria

La Loteria is much like the game called "Bingo" popular in America. Unlike bingo, where one has to fill up their tablets according to the random numbers called out, Loteria has cards with illustrations that have different meanings. The illustrations on the cards are of everyday characters (el boracho, el catrin) as well as natural elements (la luna, el perico) and mythical beings (el diablo, la muerte), these illustrations vary from one another.

I remember playing loteria when I was about ten years old. At times I would have to ask my mom what certain cards were and if I could place maize on my card because I didn't know exactly what they meant. Loteria is a game that the whole family can enjoy. I used to play with my grandparents and my parents all the time. We would fill up our cards with maize. We would play during birthday parties or late in the evenings after dinner. At the time when I was playing I would only use one card to fill up with maize while my parents and grandparents paid an extra peso for another card. I was always very competitive when I played because the winner got to keep the money that was placed in a pot before the start of the game. I don't recall winning much, but I always looked forward to the next game.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Since I was little I can recall playing Lotería around our dinning table after supper. This was truly my favorite time of the day, as friends and family came together creating a small stack of pesos in the middle of the table. Everyone gather, my tíos and tías, cousins, our abuelitos and all the small children in the neighborhood. As long as you had a peso to start with, everybody was welcomed to play. Lotería was an important part of the day, where the women cached up on gossip, men created rivalry, and children lost their yearly savings.

Lotería was first brought to Mexico from Spain in the early 18th century. It was originally played by the wealthy and upper classes but as time progress Lotería evolved into a game played at the traditional fairs and by the upper classes. Loteria is not only a traditional game but a part our culture.

La lotería not only consists of pictures depicting our culture, but it also embraces the dichos and refranes which help us understand how we think and behave within our culture. “Calaquita, sé lo mucho que te gusta bailar, escúchame atenta, un secreto te voy a dar” is the dicho on the number 7 card of the Lotería, which is the one I’ve been playing with since I was 7 years old. This dicho along with the ones embedded on the back of each image and card can be a very valuable source of advice for both young and old. They often reflect the values of a society and record cultural history.


Lotería is a traditional Mexican board game played similarly to Bingo, with beans used as place markers. One person calls out the card (but has to come up with a creative rhyme for the players to figure out), and whoever fills in the spaces on the playing cards first wins.

The images on lotería cards are also considered folk art, depicting popular Mexican figures such as "El Borracho" (The drunkard), "La Calavera" (The skeleton), and "La Chalupa" (The flower boat). Other images on traditional lotería game cards can also include fruits, vegetables, world flags, etc. Nowadays, modern lotería game cards don't show as many Mexican fixtures, but can be a tool to teach Spanish in American schools.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Reflection of Culture

I chose to speak on the daydreaming scene in the banana grove. I also find this one to be particular for two reasons. One i feel he is at the height of his malleability mentally and it is the only one where he is fully conscious throughout his entire daydream.
This part of the book is interesting because i feel it reflects the mentality and historical relationship between Mexicotexans and Anglos. Children at this age do not come up with these specific concepts by themselves, they take in influences from their surroundings. The history of the family that he has been brought up in takes root in a revolutionary ideology. He is being raised by man who participated in this and many men of his community very likely follow the same ideology because of the abuse the endure at the hands of anglos. I think this is an important reflection because at this point we don't see a novel solution or a great leader, we see a repeated process of unsuccessful attempts at destroying an enemy side.
A technique that Peredes uses he is important to understanding the scene as well, he starts to take on almost a first person view to embody the imagination of Gualinto, to make it real. At first Paredes shows us the reality of a boy playing in the banana grove,"The banana trunk was silent, but it seemed to cringe with the passing of a gust of wind," and " perhaps the switching of the last name confounded the banana trunk." Then we see a shift in perspective and enter Gualinto's mind, "...the champion turned to leave the treacherous rinche went for his 44. Gualinto spun around and burried his dagger into the rinche's side..." Here we see the banana tree really come to life and leave the imaginiary status.

George Washington Gomez

I had no clue this is how this would end. I was disappointed on how Gualinito soon turned to George Washington Gomez a "Gringo" instead of the leader of his race like I envisioned the story to end.

He battled all his life with a checkerboard life and seemed more and more as the story continued that he found his identity "Mexican" and that was where he felt he belonged. I am not sure how this changed because I could not see it coming? It made me think, is this how the Mexican race is now? Do we change our lives because we want a better life than our parents, or do we do it because we are ashamed of what our culture was like? Are we trying to make our parents proud, or do we have a mentality if you can't beat them join them? These are questions I am struggling with after reading this book. Gualinito showed heart and character for all the abuse he took during his school years. His confidence was unbelievable and I admired him in the beginning. The thing I noticed was that he had confidence when it came to him but when his family was being talked about he changed. He could not take that pain that his family was not perfect and started to become ashamed of his life. Why? How can someone be so strong when it came to physical and mental abuse towards himself be so weak to his family's verbal abuse? This is what confuses me about this whole book, that he could not overcome something I saw as trivial versus the difficult obstacles he faced earlier in his life.

I was very disappointed with the end of the book, I had hoped it turned out different. Felicano and his mother did so much for him and this how they were repaid? I was with Felicano on this "Then I could look forward to seeing you father in purgatory or limbo or wherever it is that Mexican yokels go. We could sit down and have a good long talk about you."

George Washington Gomez: Destiny or Doomed Despair

The passage that struck me the most in the dreaming scene wasn't what he was dreaming about, but his initial thoughts when he woke up. Guanlinto thought, "Goddam ridiculous, having the daydreams of his boyhood come back to him in his sleep. They had helped relieve his bitterness and frustration when he was a boy, those daydreams. " This passage was significant because it seemed like he was still experiencing frustration in his life and his old dreams came back to bring him comfort. As in childhood, he reverted to a fantasy land to make sense of what was going on around him and, in fantasies, he could control his own destiny and make decisions that led to victory. His dreams also seem to be a manifestation of the frustration he still feels in his adult life. He has this name, George Washington Gomez, and this destiny to live up to and to become a great man, but his name is derrided by his father in law when he says, "You look white but you're a goddam Meskin. And what does your mother do but give you a nigger name. George Washington Go-maize." When Ellen goes on to say his father gave it to him in honor of our country’s founding father, and a supposed great leader, his father in law negates Guanlito’s father and, seemingly, his destiny, when he says, “it don't sound right.” I found it very telling that “it was then that he decided to legally change his name to George G. Gómez, the middle G for Garcia, his mother's maiden name.” I think, at that moment, Guanlito decided to cast off the “destiny” cloak that was associated with the “Washington” in his name and embrace who he really is.

The shifts in perspective made the reading more interesting. During the intital battle of San Jacinto, I didn't know at first if Guanlito was fighting on the Mexican side or the American side. I also had a hard time trying to figure out if Guanlito was inside his own head or the head of Santa Ana. Also, when he spoke of living during his great-grandfather's time and organizing fighting militias, making the Colt revolver, hand grenades, and portable mortar, I had a hard time diffrentiating if this was his childhood fantasy speaking, or him reflecting in adulthood. The lack of definitive perspective, the seeking and soul-searching for who he is, and what he is to become, seems to be a recurrent dream that has woven itself through his life. His recurrent dreams of Mexican defeat at the hand of the Gringos indicates some repressed feeling that he and his people have been wronged in the past and that it is still going on in his present.

One of the most powerful passages in the story was, “Why do I keep on fighting battles that were won and lost a long time ago? Lost by me and won by me too? They have no meaning now.” It seems that, even though he is, as he stated, “a grown man, married and with a successful career before him,” the dreams of his youth still haunt him. In his dream, he gathered other repressed people, the Irish and the escaped Negro slaves, and they defeated the American army like David taking down Goliath. Even though he has cast off all aspirations to be a great leader and a powerful commander, even though it would appear that he is done with living up to his great destiny and is ready to live a normal life, his destiny is not done with him.

Analyze through close-reading one of two dreaming scenes: either Guálinto's daydreaming in the banana tree grove (pp. 66-69) Then select one historical event woven into the scene and explain how that history enables us to make sense of Guálinto/George as a character.
You will need to complete the following steps:
  1. Explicate the scene with careful attention to the movement of the language. Select, for example, a recurring figure, use of punctuation, etc. OR select one or two representative sentences and explain their significance for the passage as a whole
  2. Identify the historical content of that scene (you may want to reference outside sources here; if so, be sure that you either cite or hyperlink them)
  3. Identify what characterizes Guálinto at the respective stages of his emerging identity
  4. Explain how all of these factors coincide to make Guálinto's choices and actions meaningful in the context of the narrative.

"Why don't you try to kill me, eh? Because you shoot people in the back. Because you kill unarmed men and little children. Go back to your camp and tell old man Keene that Guálinto Gómez doesn't kill men who won't fight." He was very brave and fair. He was not afraid to fight and generous to wait for other to fight. He was angry because "

You have killed another Mexican who never hurt you." He heard the story about rinches from family. So that he didn't think they were right and wanted to fight for injustice

and heart for revenge. But in his daydream, at first, he did not start to just fight or kill others."

Guálinto Gómez doesn't kill men who won't fight."

And later he was killing that shows how much he wanted to be stand up for right thing and revenge on rinches for killing Mexicans.

I believe that this scene of daydream is foreshadowing that he will be a big person who would fight for justice like his daydreaming.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Banana Grove Fight

The scene with Gualinto brutally attacking the banana tree shows much of Gualinto's developing character. When we, as Americans, thing of battles our country fought, we tend to think of two armies marching, with their weapons at their sides, towards the other. Once they reach a meeting point, they acknowledge each other and the person in charge yells "charge". Each army gives it all that they have and the best side wins. From the scene with Gualinto and the banana tree, the Mexican way of fighting is revealed. It seems as though it is more of a guerilla warfare type fight. Throughout the passage the reader gets plenty of imagery, intense action verbs, and similies that give us a clear description of how Gualinto feels. The sentence "He held the killer's gun arm powerless with his left hand as he stabbed sharply, viciously, while his adversary spent his strength in the most titanic but unavailing struggles" helps us see the character of Gualinto and how his experiences or lack thereof have shaped him.

Gualinto refers to two names during his battle with the rinche-tree, he asks for a Apolonio Gonzalez and a Apolonio Rodriguez. From this the reader knows that there are not two Apolonio's, but rather that Gualinto is still a child and innocent. He hears from his family incidents of what rinches have done, but he does not know the facts or the background. It is clear to see that in Gualinto's free time he obsesses with revenge on the rinches for what he thinks they have done, "killed unarmed men and little children". When he finally snaps out of his dream he is frightened at what he has done. He not only worries about getting caught by his mother, but he is also mad at himself for even doing something like that. This shows that he is still child-like even though he has a rage like a vengeful Mexican.

At this point in the novel, the reader may assume that scene forshadows Gualinto's future character. However, it is unclear whether his fear of authority or his vengeance will take over in his character.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Men Between Banana Trees

In ancient epic warfare, the heroes of two opposing armies would face each other in an open plane, fighting to the death in hand to hand combat surrounded by their respective armies. Though brutal, these fights were public, honorable, vicious, but respectful in that both men acknowledged their war and their weapons up front.

Not so between rinches and vengeful Mexican fighters in banana groves or the chaparral. Guálinto's battle against the rinche/tree on p. 68, however imaginary, childish, and surreptitious is written in the style of an epic battle with vivid, successive action verbs, similes, alliteration contribute to Guálinto's status as "champion" (68) here and make his pretend struggle all the more foreboding.

Though reminiscent of the ancient heroes of Troy, our new hero fights in typical Western/corrido fashion. Paredes writes, "G spun around and burried his daggger into the wretch's side before the gun was half-drawn. Crackslich! The blade sank deep into his pulpy flesh." Not only the verbal imagery clear and concise, the personification of the tree, "a once smooth stalk...[now] a pulpy oozing mess, scratched, stabbed, and cut, with patches of the skin-like bark hanging loose" (68). Not only does this vivid action sequence paint an almost empirical picture of the "fight," but the treatment of the tree as a true rinche who has killed "unarmed men and children" and who will now die at the hands of a fighter defending his people transforms the playtime of a 6-year-old in his backyard into a potential scene of sobering reality and probability.

Surrounding and during the killing scene, Guálinto references three names and two specific crimes that help us locate the historical context of the banana-grove episode. He asks the rinche-tree twice where Apolonio Gonzalez and then Apolonio Rodriguez are. This apparent slip-up by G in identifying their last names is intentional work on Paredes' part - revealing G's innocence and childlike understanding/memory of the specific event. Though he cannot remember the facts perfectly, however, G knows the most pertinent information--a Mexican (or multiple Mexicans) was "shot in the back," killed while unarmed.

Guálinto's apparent ignorance of the historical but acute awareness of the principle (i.e. cold-blooded, racially motivated murder) is crucial in understanding his development as a character. This scene, paradoxically playful and brutal, hopeful and tragic, reveals in part the mind of 6-year-old G. In his play time, Guálinto is obsessed with thoughts of vengeful murder and his inner dialogue about his stained shirt resembles that of a murderer caught with the blood of his victim on his clothes (68). Still, though the boy explodes in a violent range with this historical crime in mind, his age and his timid spirit have not vanished: after "almost killing the plant" he is frightened about more than just getting caught. The very sensation and experience was, somehow, terrifying.

While this murder scene, it would seem, foreshadows G's future work in revenge, it is still unclear at this point in the story whether his sense of vengeance or sense of fear will dominate his psyche in the (likely) chance that he comes upon a rinche who's skin cuts much more easily than bark.

Monday, October 19, 2009

George Washington Gomez: History and Character

This week we're beginning Paredes' novel, George Washington Gómez, originally written in the 1930s but not published until 1990. Though the novel itself has a very interesting publication history, we will be focusing in this discussion on the relationship between "history"--the narrative's historical context--and the novel form, specifically the Bildungsroman or novel of maturation. In other words, we will examine how history informs Paredes' characterization of George/Guálinto as the novel's hero.
Initiated in Guálinto's naming ceremony and carried throughout George Washington Gómez historical events interweave with narrative events to inform the direction that Guálinto's life will take. In particular, the scenes of Guálinto's daydreams indicate his ever-developing sense of himself in relation to the world around him. Analyze through close-reading one of two dreaming scenes: either Guálinto's daydreaming in the banana tree grove (pp. 66-69) or that in his sleep beginning in Part V (pp. 281-2). Then select one historical event woven into the scene and explain how that history enables us to make sense of Guálinto/George as a character.
You will need to complete the following steps:
  1. Explicate the scene with careful attention to the movement of the language. Select, for example, a recurring figure, use of punctuation, etc. OR select one or two representative sentences and explain their significance for the passage as a whole
  2. Identify the historical content of that scene (you may want to reference outside sources here; if so, be sure that you either cite or hyperlink them)
  3. Identify what characterizes Guálinto at the respective stages of his emerging identity
  4. Explain how all of these factors coincide to make Guálinto's choices and actions meaningful in the context of the narrative.

Friday, October 9, 2009

woman hollering creek

Saldívar-Hull's Argument: "Woman Hollering Creek" fictionally articulates a Chicana feminism that simultaneously decenters predominantly white feminisms and destabilizes class assumptions.

Saldívar-Hull's Argument does not completely capture what women hollering creek is all about. It does emphasize the social stigma attached to how women are treated it mostly focuses on the bad side of the book. The stories are all different they offer an insight into the author’s soul. Not all the experiences in the book were about women being mistreated. The book personally took me back to my child hood i mean who doesn’t remember as a child being at the church with their grandma that is just something that takes me back. The book talk about Mexican folklore some of their believes such as santito and milagros brujos and hechiceria that is just simply how Mexican live under superstition and to take this and impose it to tie it into feminism and machismo is just not correct. Although she does write about female situation that denote their subjugation to another person by physically or emotionally this should not be assigned to all Mexican women. That type of machista behavior should not be assigned to Mexican men only and cause the assumption that they all are the same because it is not true.
I believe this book goes way beyond creating a strong female image because it relates those life situations that shape you into who you are, which should emphasize that one shouldn’t settle for what they have but go look for their dreams and their happiness.

Cleofila's dream life

Saldívar-Hull's Argument: "Woman Hollering Creek" fictionally articulates a Chicana feminism that simultaneously decenters predominantly white feminisms and destabilizes class assumptions.
Cleofila is a typical woman who dreams about her marriage, husband, and romantic life. Cleofia is a chicana woman and she came to Seguin, Texas with her husbnad. She was going for romantic marriage life like other white woman there. But her husband abuse her.

"He slapped her once, and then again, and again; until lip split and bled an orchid of blood, she didn't fight bak, she didn't break into tears, she didn't run away as she imagined she might when she saw such things in the telenovelas"

She held it herself. She didn't want to break the marriage although it was not right. She tries to make it better.

"Not that he isn't a good man. She has to remind herself why she loves him when she changes the baby's papers, or when she mops the bathroom floor, or tries to make the curtain for the doorways without doors, or whiten the linen."

She doesn't give up her wife role. She does house work at home, tries to remind herself why she loves him. She knows that this life wouldn't change to life she dreamed. But she keeps her white feminisms and endure the life. She always think back the life before marriage but she can't leave her husband because her husband helps support their child. She struggles like other woman in America.

"Woman Hollering Creek" fictionally articulates a Chicana feminism that simultaneously decenters predominantly white feminisms and destabilizes class assumptions.

Saldivar's Argument

Saldívar-Hull's Argument: "Woman Hollering Creek" fictionally articulates a Chicana feminism that simultaneously decenters predominantly white feminisms and destabilizes class assumptions.

I would have to agree with Hull's argument in that all the elements shown above can be seen throughout the book. The sexual, racial, geopolitical emerge from the characters own experiences, which are based on Cisneros's own experiences as a working class woman of color from the borderlands of greater Mexico. The text problematize dichotomy between gender conditions in the US and those in Mexico by combinding the two cultures and countries in the rural Texas town of Seguin.

WHC is one outcome of Cisneros commitment to popular feminism. The story ideological manipulation through mass media, such as telenovelas, collude to keep women submissive.

Saldívar-Hull's Argument

I think Saldívar-Hull's Argument is a good summary for what “Women Hollering Creek” is about as a whole. Particularly the claim that it “decenters white feminism and destabilized class assumptions”. In the story we see how Cleofilas is completely worn down and subjugated by the abusive relationship she is in. We get a first hand account of the struggles that a typical Mexican-American women would have to face, and this kind of perspective was drowned out by white feminism or simply overlooked due to racism. Sandra Cisneros attempts to bring to light the domestic plight that Mexican-American women had to face, perhaps to provide them a voice, or show that the Mexican and White women had to face the same kind of struggles. Because white feminism overshadowed minority womens rights, I think the piece “decenters” the white feminism dominance and shows Mexican-American women perhaps had it even harder, considering they were not only fighting against sexism, but racism as well.
Also, the claim that it destabilized class assumptions is expressed when we consider that situation that Cleofilas and her husband are in. Living in the border region of the United States which was ripe with racism and inequality. In my opinion, Cisneros is trying to show how Mexican couples and White couples are similar in that they both must work and raise children, but in the details we also note the air of racism that they must live under. I think that because Mexican-Americans were regarded as second class citizens, perhaps the dominant class did not really take notice at the wide array of relationship problems and abuse that is not just a thorn in White society, but something that is prevalent in all societies.

Chicana Feminism Within Woman Hollering Creek

In Saldívar-Hull's Argument: "Woman Hollering Creek" she "fictionally articulates a Chicana feminism that simultaneously decenters predominantly white feminisms and destabilizes class assumptions." Within the argument, she states that, "Cisneros makes it clear that Cleófilas' migration to patriarchal domesticity and the north is not the product of a singular engagement with "romantic" constructions of marriage, but of a lifelong engagement with media representations (the books, the songs and the telenovelas) that define and ultimately discipline women's passions." I don't particularly agree with the assertion that she makes, though. Cleófilas goes north for practical reasons: her husband works and lives there. I also believe that Cleófilas goes into marriage with a both a dreamer's and a pragmatist's attitude about marriage. She understands the domesticity of it: she's been carrying out the functions of "wifely" duties for many years now. She understands the tradition of maintaining home and hearth as they have been drummed into her, even without a mother figure to teach her.

While, I support Saldívar-Hull's assertion that Cleófilas has been surrounded by images of what love is on the telenovelas and in magazines, I also believe that she romanticizes love in that manner because didn't have a loving relationship to learn and grow from. Her mother died and there is no mention of a stepmother, so she doesn't have a real life, practical model to learn the ways of what happens between a woman and a man, so she gleans this "knowledge" of all encompassing, all consuming love from the examples that she does have: fiction. Like any young woman, she has an idealistic view of what marriage will be like and, like each person that goes into the unknown, there is always the possibility that your expectations of a situation will not live up to the reality.

When the blinders are removed and Cleófilas sees her circumstance for what it is, she goes along with the only other option that presents itself and returns home. She has no money or home in the U.S. without her husband, she doesn’t have any training or prospects to get a job, and she has two children to provide for. I support Cleófilas' decision to return home. Yes, it is returning to a "patriarchal domesticity" as Saldívar-Hull puts it, but at least in her father's house she won't be physically abused.


In this article, one of the arguments that Saldivar makes is that mass media, such as telenovelas shape women's conciousness and delimit their knowledge of the world. She uses several example from the short story Woman Hollering Creek to support her. Cleofilas does indeed compare her life a few time to telenovelas, but she is struck by reality when she realizes that her marriage will not have a happy ending. I do agree that women, not only Mexican women are influenced very much by stories such as telenovelas. Many american women grow up listening to fairy tales where young girls are rescued from their awful lives by Prince Charming. These fairy tales and telenovelas do impact us a lot, but I don't believe that they "shape our conciousness." Cleofilas did wish for her life to be like the telenovelas, but don't we all at some point expect a Prince Charmig? Telenovelas are simply made for enternainment, and I do not believe they delimit Mexican's women,or Cleofilas knowledge of the world. Cleofilas simply expected a happy marriage and was let down, just like all the other divorced women all over the world.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chicana feminism on Woman Hollering Creek

Sonia Saldívar makes the argument that “Woman Hollering Creek” “fictionally articulates feminism [which] simultaneously decenters predominantly white feminisms and destabilizes class assumptions.” To support her argument she infers that after Cleófilas leaves her husband and returns to Mexico, she has transformed into a new woman, “the agent of alternative visions” thus converting her into the new Chicana feminist pioneer. Saldívar assumes that Cleófilas will liberate herself from the oppressive world of men by telling her family the story of Felice, the story of a new type of woman.

In my opinion, I believe it will take more than Cleófilas “hollering” her story, to liberate her. Returning to Mexico, positions her back to the role she had before, the role she wanted to escape when she got married and moved north. Instead of staying in the United States and establishing herself as an independent woman, with the help of Felice of course, Cleófilas decides to move back, to run away, defenseless to the Third World, a place known for its exploitation and dominance on women.

This inevitable cycle presented by Cisneros, does not show a woman who can stand up for herself, who dares to shout instead of hollering. With this is mind, Cleófilas can not be a symbol of Chicana feminism, but another victim in a patriarchal society.

Analyzing Seguin's Argument

"Woman Hollering Creek" fictionally articulates a Chicana feminism that simultaneously decenters predominantly white feminisms and destabilizes class assumptions.

One crucial element of Seguin's argument lies in this passage where she describes Cleofilas' context and already interprets her significance as a "border" character as it relates to the Chicana feminism she will come to represent:

"WHC" also problematizes an unacceptable dichotomy that US scholars often inscribe between gender conditions in the US and those in Mexico...This is a story in which Cleofilas, a young Mexican woman, moves from one Third World patriarchal context to another with the hope of escaping economic limitations and fulfilling romantic illusions. In Cleofilas' migrations Cisneros suggests that the material and gendered conditions of domination and exploitation imposed on subaltern Mexican women in the US are connected to the exploitation and domination from which they seek to escape in the pueblos/towns of Mexico" (449).

Already, Cleofilas is "decenterizing predominantly white feminisms" by articulating the struggles of a Mexican woman in an Anglo world where she is fighting similar, but not identical, struggles against a patriarchy that persists in both economic worlds. Seguin's claim that Cleofilas' moving from one "Third World patriarchal context to another with the hope of escaping economic limitations and fulfilling romantic illusions" is central to her argument that Cleofilas feminism crosses the borders of both race and economic class and presents a feminism that flows through both boundaries.

Woman Hollering Creek

I did not quite understand the argument being made, so I will try my best at providing a claim for it. The quote from the text that stands out the most to me is: "Like other Mexican women who regularly watch Spanish "novels" in the US and Mexico, Cleofilas is totally immersed within a fully mediatized culture witch instructs young women that their goal in life is marriage, adn that marriage to a US citizen is synonymous with social mobility and unbridled consumerism". From this quote it I get the impression that from watching television, reading romantic novels, flipping through various magazines, or the gossip around the town, some Mexican women make it their goal to marry an American. From what they hear, see, or read, they believe that they will encounter the best lives if they marry into an American family. However, based on the story that is told in Woman Hollering Creek, Cleofilas does not end up experiencing the life that she dreamed of. I also find it interesting that Cisneros names Cleofilas American neighbors Soledad and Dolores, meaning solitude and pain. Even though they are American, they still got stuck in the "media" idea of what the life of a woman should be like. Throughout the entire text there is no mention of the class system, the writing is solely based on the feminist aspect for the Mexican woman; the crossing over to a country where life is supposed to be better and bring happiness, but for some end up being the opposite and worse than what was being experienced back home. I know I am not going in the right direction at all, I am very confused about what to write or the point that I am even trying to make. I understand the story, but the argument is what is confusing me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Woman Hollering...

For this blog discussion, we're temporarily departing from our usual close analysis of the fiction to turn our sights on literary criticism. As we modeled in class with our analysis of Dr. Limón's reading of "I Am Joaquín," you will use your blog discussion to analyze Sonia Saldívar-Hull's "Woman Hollering Transfronteriza Feminism."
The OED defines "analysis" as:
1. The resolution or breaking up of anything complex into its various simple elements, the opposite process to synthesis; the exact determination of the elements or components of anything complex (with or without their physical separation).
The task of analyzing a critical piece such as Saldívar-Hull's then relies on taking the argument apart in order to determine how she arrives at her argument. With that in mind, I'll offer the following as a summary of her argument, and in your posts, you will either offer at least one claim that she uses to back up this argument OR identify what you think the argument is, how it diverges from the summary I've offered, and, again, at least one claim that supports that reasoning.
Saldívar-Hull's Argument: "Woman Hollering Creek" fictionally articulates a Chicana feminism that simultaneously decenters predominantly white feminisms and destabilizes class assumptions.

Remember: Identify at least one claim and explain how it works to structure the argument.