Sunday, November 8, 2009

“Sense of place” can either be described as a physical geographical location or the meaning people, in this case the characters, give to a specific location, person or object. In my opinion, I think Nina Marie Martinez refers to “sense of place” to describe the emotional and physical place each character has on each other’s life. In the Big Five-Four scene on page 13, and the one on page 250, Martinez associates the song “Hey baby, ¿Qué pasó?” with Natalie “a text-mex tune she was particularly fond of” (14) while the song “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” is associated with Consuelo. Not only do the songs describe the girl’s personalities but it also serves as a revelation of their intimate love they have for each other.

“Hey Baby, ¿Qué Pasó?” is a danceable song, with an up beat whose lyrics both in English and Spanish are magically interwoven to compose the best declaration of love. Natalie’s personality, just like the rhythm of the song, is adventurous and fun, and who is more likely to take initiative on things. Consuelo, on the other hand, is best described by the rhythm of “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” whose slow beat and romantic tone, describes her shyness and hesitation to take the lead.
Most importantly, this song not only describes Consuelo’s and Natalie’s personalities, but I believe is a revelation of their intimate “love” for each other. In “Hey Baby, ¿Qué Pasó?” the verse:

Come on, baby, turn around
Let me see your pretty blue eyes
Don't you know that I love you
Please don't leave me de ese modo.

This verse made me think of Consuelo (who in fact have colored eyes)when she accepts to dance with Cal, making Natalie jealous causing her to respond with that verse.

On the other hand, “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” Consuelo responds to Natalie with the following verse:

Don't you remember the day.
That you went away and left me
I was so lonely
Prayed for you only, my love.

Is this Consuelo reminding Natalie of the time she went to Mexico and left her all lonely in Lava Landing?

Even though Martinez never establishes the sexuality of Consuelo and Nathalie, I think she gives us a clue on page 343 when Javier goes to Consuelo’s house to declare his love for Nathalie. Martinez writes “When it comes to Natalie, jealously has always been an issue for Consuelo. Its one thing to watch Nat kickin up her heels dancing the night away with some stray cute thang on Saturday night, but to have a young man in her very own livin room declaring long-felt feeling for her best friend is another thing entirely.” I believe Natalie and Consuelo are afraid of accepting their love not only as “best friends” but a more intimate love, that usually happens between a man and a woman. Therefore, their only way of expressing their love is through these two songs: “Hey baby, ¿Qué Pasó?” and “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights”.

1 comment:

  1. So interesting, Viri.
    I'm glad you chose to deal with the question of Nat & Sway's sexuality. You're right that Martinez leaves it ambiguous, but she gives us some clues that we can read the girls' as "queer" if not necessarily lesbian, since they seem to embrace neither hetero- nor homo- norms. Instead, their love is for each other even if they "play" with boys and get boy crazy. I really like the idea, though, that their queer identities can be read through the songs. Very nice, as usual.