ERIC Number: EJ769179
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 13
Borders of Loss: The Representation of a Desert City in Two Chicano Testimonial Texts
Vasquez, Mary S.
Bilingual Review, v28 n2 p137-147 May 2004-Aug 2007
Diego Vazquez Jr.'s novel "Growing Through the Ugly" (1997) and Gloria Lopez-Stafford's memoir of childhood "A Place in El Paso: A Mexican American Childhood" (1996) offer two divergent views of the west Texas city and its surrounding desert. In the vision created in the Vazquez text, El Paso is a site of exploitation, predation, and a limitless, ever-unfulfilled hunger. Its desert is a place of desolation whose perennial dust is the composite and carrier of all the dreams gone wrong or crushed before they could fully form. For Lopez-Stafford, on the other hand, El Paso is a sustaining and nurturing context, a saving communal family for a lonely child, its desert a loving and generous mother, playful, yet steady. The two protagonists, Vazquez's Buzzy Digit and Lopez-Stafford's Yoya, share, an experience of serial abandonment and a pervading sense of longing, huge and amorphous in Buzzy's case, defined and specific, but equally intense in Yoya's. In this essay, the author proposes to analyze the two coming-of-age texts in their representation of the desert city from the point of departure of their mutual abandonment, incorporating into her analysis a consideration of the relation of each protagonist to urban and desert sites, their linguistic and cultural identity, the textual portrayal of the border and the borderlands, gender, the imagery of loss, the impingement of war, and the workings of memory.
Descriptors: Children, Mexican Americans, War, Memory, Native Language Instruction, Personal Narratives
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Mexico; Texas; United States