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Gloria Anzaldua's 1987 book Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza is a place of conflicting voices that all belong to one person. She plays with language, identity, and genre by using Spanish, Nahuatl, and English to consider her background as "a border woman" between two cultures "Mexican (with a heavy Indian influence) and the Anglo (as a member of a colonized people in our own territory) (Anzaldua, preface). The book is both autobiographical and theoretical. She employs both prose and poetry to consider what it is to live between borders. The borders to which Anzaldua refer are between nations, identities, and languages. It is a liminal space that she explores, which means that it has elements of conflict and complexity. In this book Anzaldua is first a theorist and then a poet. Anzaldua offers a place where stories meet and recombine to help readers consider alternative realities that might have been foreign to them. She disrupts and addresses autocolonization of hegemonic discursive practices and actions against and within herself and beyond.
Although it is one text, the book contains two separate works that work in systemic harmony, not in binary opposition. The first half is entitled Atravesando Fronteras / Crossing Borders and consists of seven chapters and endnotes. This portion of the text is based on the author's experiences in synthesis with historic events and Nahuatl guidance that is at once spiritual and practical. Anzaldua leads the reader through a fragmented landscape, explains the way she views the world from her multiple perspectives, and offers this as a source of strength and resistance to colonizing rhetoric that silences voices of difference (Anzaldua, 54-56). The second half of the text is entitled Un Agitado Viento / Ehecatl, The Wind.Read more ›
In a time where controversy continues around issues of offical language, immigration, and national identity in the United States, this book opens the eyes of the "dominant white culture" in America to struggles that our latino citizens need to overcome in their lives. Not only an excellent book for any latina to read who shares the same expereince as Anzaldua, mestiza born in the United States struggling to choose a clear identity, but also a highly recommended read for non latinos. In her introduction, Anzaldua extends an invitation to anglo americans to meet them halfway in understanding these controversial issues of our society. Although written in the style of a personal narrative that at times makes you laugh out loud, this book will help chicanas have a better understanding of their own heritage and whites to rethink their positions on immigration and official language.
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For those of us Anglos who are curious about the importance of Nuestro Senora de Guadelupe, this is a great introduction. Easy to read, covers spiritual, culture, and historic aspects that make it clear why Our Lady of Guadelupe is so central to the Mexican soul.
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