Themes and Meanings

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

With humor and sympathy, The Wedding treats themes important to Latinos, women, and a multicultural society. The novel is a coming-of-age story that tells of a teenage girl’s maturing as a woman. Developing this universal theme, the novel strikingly dramatizes adolescent girls’ preoccupations with their physical appearance, their future as women, and men. Since Blanca succeeds within her frame of reference, the novel also dramatizes the reality that many women face quite limited possibilities.

Ponce establishes the themes of The Wedding mainly through the Mexican American cultural context. One way she establishes background is through names, the meanings of which may be ironic—“Blanca” and “Taconos,” for example. Ponce also ironically develops the novel’s cultural themes. She celebrates Blanca’s great event while depicting the flaws of Blanca’s and the community’s frame of reference. In the larger arena, the straightforward narrative reveals the real poverty of the Taconos community. The characters have no myths, superstitions, or dreams to guide them. On the outskirts of “Los,” as the young people call Los Angeles, they are cut off from the imaginative past of their Latino heritage. The young men have only posturing machismo; the women, scraps of stories and current misinformation about contraception and abortion.

The narrative implies a related social and historical theme: that mainstream...

(The entire section is 522 words.)