Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review Time!

I've become somewhat of a Chicana studies enthusiast this year, after taking a Chicano/a Literature course this winter. In that class I read several novels from Chicano/a writers, all of which were interesting and enlightening. The most significant thing I took away from that class was the way Chicana writers specifically, fused their awareness of Chicana/Mestiza identity with feminist theory and discourse. I went into my professor and mentor's office and she recommended several other books she thought I should look into, and I've just finished one of them. The book is Borderlands by Gloria Anzaldua. This book is wild, formidable, and though I have no idea if Anzaldua read or appreciated Julia Kristeva's work, I believe this book is preoccupied with a very Kristevian sense of the semiotic self. Gloria Anzaldua ambitiously discusses how la mestiza must straddle three cultures: American, Mexican, and Indigenous, and asserts that what is needed is a "tolerance for ambiguity" and an internalization of the mulitplicity of female selves. She describes this internalization as an internalization of the attributes of the Nahua Goddess, Coatlicue. This is a very sensual, politically and socially conscious book, and I recommend it highly!


  1. I love this specific genre as well. Barbara Kingsolver draws a lot of Mexican heritage into her novels as well - which is why I find them so stunning.

    It's interesting to see which specific area of literature each English student sort of "makes their own." I had a big thing for African lit during my studies. I would love to go to Africa now because - same as Chicana lit - the writing really brings the landlines alive.

  2. This stupid illness must be frying my brain because I am not sure what you just said (and you KNOW I'm usually on the ball). However, it sounds like the author did a really great job at producing a thoughtful and thought-provoking book, and I'm intrigued! I'm glad you're having such a fun time, delving into this genre.

  3. Alena, I admit I can get a little verbose. Especially when I'm talking about literary theory. You're right though--I was really impressed with the author's content and style. She's truly passionate about the Chicana feminist movement.

    Lauren, I totally agree! It is SO great to see how each student owns his/her area of interest! I have had the privilege of working with some very brilliant people in literary studies. One girl in my Chicana lit class wrote her paper on the same book that I did ("So Far From God," by Ana Castillo) and took away something COMPLETELY different than I did from it. Her paper emphasized Eco-Feminism and was truly a genius piece of work. Both of us shared our work at the Southern Oregon Arts and Research Conference.



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