Nicholasa Mohr’s El Bronx Remembered is a collection of short stories depicting life in a Puerto Rican barrio in New York City during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Well known for her treatment of child, adolescent, and young adult characters, Mohr’s depiction of Puerto Rican urban life concentrates on subjects of particular importance to those age groups. Mohr’s narratives do not offer a denunciation of the troubled lives of these immigrants and children of immigrants. Instead, her stories bring forward voices that were often, in literature, considered unimportant. Female characters of several age groups and social backgrounds stand out for analysis.
Mohr writes from autobiographical memories; she grew up in a barrio much like the one in her stories. In her hands, the barrio is a strong presence that affects the lives of her characters in myriad ways. City life and traditional Puerto Rican family values are set against each other, producing the so-called Nuyorican culture, or Puerto-Rican-in-New-York culture. The clashes within that hybrid culture are the thematic center of Mohr’s short stories.
The introduction to the collection sets a strong historical context for the stories. The 1940’s saw an increase in Puerto Rican migration to New York. The arrival of thousands of immigrants changed the ethnic constitution of the city, especially of Manhattan’s Lower East Side and the South Bronx. El Bronx, as it is called by the...
(The entire section is 461 words.)