Archive for March, 2012

Kozer 1243

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I’m leaving, life here has become intolerable to me. Intolerable anywhere, of course, but I won’t tolerate intolerable in my house.

This line perplexed me knowing Kozer’s history of having a point in his life that seemed more depressing than the rest of it. He suggests that one should not tolerate the feelings he has when they upset him but take the initiative to leave, which when you look at his action of leaving Cuba is what he did. However, there is this vagueness in what Kozer means by intolerance within his own house. Is he suggesting that his nationalism to Cuba makes him more upset because of the intolerance that is created by the political strife of the country and its direct effects on him having to leave of is there an underlying intolerance that he has personally experienced that he does not explicitly state in the passage.

Kozer 1242

Monday, March 19th, 2012

All of the shops in Havana have closed,

the workers, in noisy fever, file through the streets,

and my father, a dusty Jew,

carries once more the Ark of the Law

when he leaves cuba.


I was moved by the ending of this passage because Kozer is bringing the historical strife that has been evident throughout Judaism and the constant moving of the Jewish people but the constant theme that faith is important to carry, in the literal and firugative sense into the new land. It shows that though ones surroundings might change his identity as a Jew never changes. This devotion to faith allows Kozer to see the positives in a time of turmoil for himself personally and for Cuba. Kozer shows that he has a historical understanding that his father is doing the same thing other Jews have been doing for thousands of years of persecution and eviction from homelands.

Valdez 1248

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Ladies and gentlemen

the play you are about to see

is a construct of fact and fantasy.

The Pachuco style was an act in life

and his language a new creation.

His will to be was an awesome force

eluding all documentation…

A mythical, quizical, frightenting being

precursor of revolution

Or a piteous, hideous heroic joke

deserving of absolution?

I speak as an actor on the stage.

The Pachuco was existential

for he was an actor in the streets

both profane and reverential.

It was the secret fantasy of every bato

in or out of the Chicanada

to put on a Zoot Suit and play the Myth

mas chucote que la chingada.

This introduction into Valdez’s play is interesting because it suggests that what he is about to show may seem like reality to the people who did not live through it but it is indeed a construct of his imagination based on what he has lived and observed. The complexity that arises is when he suggests that the people living the zoot suit culture are also acting when they live their daily lives making reality and fantasy one in the same for the Pachucho. He introduces the groups of individuals and how their culture  is embodied by their way of life and significantly marked by the way they dress themselves and essentially make a marker that distinguishes them as being significant and potentially how this will play into the stereotypes related to these people and the effects this has on their day to day lives.

Burciaga 1230

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Other Spanish names for frijoles abound: frejoles, judias de leon, habichuelas, alubias, and habas. As kids we would change frijoles to a more Chicano sounding firoles or balas; un plato de balas was a deadly “plate of bullets.” Beans are rich in nurtition, but many people shy away from them because of their gas producing properties, something that can be easily remedied. ( One way is to repeatedly discard the water. First let the beans soak temporarily or overnight and then throw out the water. Boil them and then throw out the water again…


I found this passage funny because of the reference to beans as bullets. The irony is in the double meaning in that beans will make you gassy and flatulate sounding similar to the sound of bullets and the other that I thought of was the rifles that existed in the colonization of latin america and the bullets used in the massacre of the native peoples. Burciaga later talks about the significance of beans as the poor man’s dish as well as a specialty dish for the wealthy but its sort of funny to think about beans in the many facets he talks about in this piece and this is why take interest in the details he gives about how to avert the problems of gas that can occur simply by repeatedly boiling the beans.

Anaya 1168

Monday, March 19th, 2012

She stood in the center and very slowly and carefully she unbuttoned her blouse. She let it drop to her feet, then she undid her bra and let it fall. I held my breath and felt my heart pounding wildly. Never had I seen such beauty as I saw then in the pale light which bathed her naked shoulders and small breasts. She unfastened her skirt and let it drop then she lowered her panties and stepped out of them. When she was completely naked she called me.

I found this passage to be disturbing. Initially i thought that this must have been a dream sequence and that there is no way that this would be appropriate during any time period.  When we look at the words the Anaya chooses here he suggests that this is a dream come true rather than a nightmare. The question of the secret that women is possessed is answered by the visuals drawn in this passage. This suggests that the male mind, even at the young middle school age is fundamentally a visual learner. I am intrigued by why Anaya writes this instance as if it is something mundane. What is he saying about women here? Is he suggesting that they are some mystical creatures with power over men even though society may place them in a subordinate position at times? This is a stark contrast from Mohr’s themes in her writing.

Anaya 1167

Monday, March 19th, 2012

My heart sank. She knew my crime. I felt sick in the pit of my stomach. I cursed Pico and Chueco for talking me into the awful thing. Better to have let everything remain as it was. Let them keep their secret. Whatever it was, it wasn’t worth the love I knew would end between me and Ms. Brighton. She would tell my parents, everyone would know. I wished that I could reach down and rip the cursed mirror from my shoe, undo everything and set it right again.

In this passage we see a young boy who had a crush on his teacher and now due to his actions provoked by peer pressure he has landed himself into trouble. The feelings expressed here are how one can become emotional when they are no longer on the good side of someone they admire. In this case the feelings of stomach churning and  discomfort show that the awkward situation he is in causes him embarrassment in his caving in to peer pressure. This situation could have been averted had he not been curious or had a stronger force against peer pressure and being accepted by his two mischievous  juvenile friends.

Mohr 1077

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I leave you with this final thought. Our children deserve to have pride in themselves and their community that was missing from many of our own lives as youngsters. Those that follow us do not have to be outcasts in their own lands. All of us go forward. Let’s take that responsibility and run with it. Let’s validate and celebrate not only what we have managed to accomplish, but all that we must do and build in the years ahead. Let us continue to fight in order to insure our rightful place in society and commit to a positive legacy for all of our children.


Mohr is calling for action to continue educating the Latino community of the greatness that they have achieved and continue to achieve. She highlights the need to empower the children with knowledge of their own culture and to not be held back by the inadequate structures in society to provide them with the easy access that other groups have to their history. She says that this change in the community is a “responsibility” to the future generations in order to achieve the group’s rightful place in society. This suggests that though progress has been made it has not taken the community to the realistic level of the greatness of the work that has been done to this point. Mohr shows that she wants her experience to be one of the past so that future children do not know the ambiguities she herself grew up with.

Mohr 1053

Monday, March 19th, 2012

You are a woman, Nilda. You will have to bear the child regardless of who planted the seed, they will be your children and no one else’s. If a man is good, you are lucky; if he leaves you or is cruel, so much the worse for you…And then, if you have no money and little education, who will help you Nilda? Another man? Yes, and another pregancy. Welfare? Yes, and they will kill you in the process, slowly robbing you of your home , so that after a while it is no longer yours.

Nilda’s mother has very powerful advice for her daughter as she lays nearing death. The sentiments expressed in this statement show that Nilda’s mother is aware of the way the societal system of family and the burdens children bring are all placed on the female. She shows that she understands that equality doesn’t exist between the sexes because of the predicament of female anatomy, having the womb by which children will be born. The concern expressed in her daughter’s not being able to support herself if she doesn’t have an education is highlighted by the problems of the welfare system. Under the welfare system that Nilda’s mother is referring to one loses their sense of independence and essentially themselves by becoming engulfed by the hand outs that the government gives to provide basic sustenance. Nilda’s mother paints a grim picture of the reality that awaits unknowing females wooed by men into pregnancy only to find out that life is complicated as a single parent without education.

Mohr 1074

Monday, March 19th, 2012

There were no positive role models for me out there in the Great Society when I was growing up. When I searched with a need to emulate a living person-preferably a woman with whom I could identify-my efforts were futile. As a Puerto Rican female in the U.S., my legacy was one of either a negative image or invisibility. My knowledge of myself, of the history of the Puerto Rican people, and of the Hispanic contribution to the United States were to come later when I would seek and find those works and books that held the truth.


In the passage Mohr is suggesting that society in America did not portray the reality of Puerto Ricans nor did they portray the reality of the role of women in society. This is something that is essential in identity formation especially for children growing up and looking to emulate someone they can relate to .  In Mohr’s case she was lucky enough to find herself through her academic study of Hispanics and their contributions to society via literature and other educational materials she encountered later on in life. This is problematic because it suggests that people who are unable to have the opportunity to expand their knowledge will never really learn about their own culture. It suggests that college becomes the barrier to knowing one’s own history and having role models other than your family or local community people who have the same predicament of not having greater exposure to the contributions of hispanics on society and the feeling of being a marginalized community because of this.

Kozer 1243

Monday, March 19th, 2012

1. My parents came from Poland and Czechoslovakia, at twenty I ousted myself from my country, foreseeing that the nation would take on something like the air of a general prison; that wasn’t to my taste ( I would come to learn that the whole planet is a general prison): I was born in Cuba, where I left no progeny, and I will not return: I am the first and last Cuban generation.


It is interesting how Kozer expresses the predicament of being Cuban while not being able to truly embrace this because of the country’s problems which make him leave the country. He shows the pattern of his parents leaving their native country and then him leaving his native country as well. He doesn’t seem to associate with having a nationality with the countries of his parents origin and this is probably the reasoning that he believes he is the last Cuban generation because if his children see nationality from his perspective they will not associate with Cuba, Poland or Czechoslovakia but rather the country they are born into. Kozer explains his apathy and dismay for Cuba by comparing the nation with a prison. He writes “foreseeing that the nation would take on something like the air of a general prison; that wasn’t to my taste” suggesting that there was a time when life in Cuba was bearable but he could not se a positive projection from that point. For his own personal edification and quality of life he saw it necessary to shed his Cuban nationalism and adopt a new one by migrating.