ERIC Number: EJ863208
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 25
Representations of Mexican American Migrant Childhood in Rivera's "...y no se lo trago la tierra" and Viramontes's "Under the Feet of Jesus"
Beck, Scott A.; Rangel, Dolores E.
Bilingual Review, v29 n1 p14-24 Jan-Apr 2008-2009
This article gives an analysis of two books: Thomas Rivera's "...y no se lo trago la tierra" and Helena Maria Viramontes's "Under the Feet of Jesus". The two books are strong and important literary texts that stand in close relation to each other. Both texts treat the subject of migrant childhood by affirming central themes of Chicano literature. Moreover, their intertextual parallels in plot structure and action require an acknowledgment that Viramontes wrote in a direct dialogue with Rivera's text. Nonetheless, the books diverge widely on a number of other points. Rivera wrote during a radical period of U.S. history, one bursting with hopeful possibilities for those who were waiting to welcome the new dawn, about a period that preceded this hopeful era. Viramontes wrote during a reactionary time when the hopes of the 1960s had proven inadequate and progressive forces had learned that only sustained direct action had any chance of resisting the oppressive tide. Also, Rivera ignored the questions raised by second-wave feminism because he could: its challenges had yet to find a voice in the field of Chicano letters. Viramontes, in contrast, is one of the Chicana narrativists who broadened the discourse of Mexican American literature to include the voices and perspectives of women. Ironically, Rivera's position can be characterized as masculine passivity when compared with Viramontes's feminist activist stance. (Contains 10 notes.)
Descriptors: History, Mexican Americans, Children, Hispanic Americans, Hispanic American Literature, Migrants, United States History, Feminism, Females, Literary Genres, Masculinity
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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