I am putting a modern world lit class for 11th graders together and have not been able to locate any books from this region beyond One Hundred Years of Solitude. Anyone have some better (other) suggestions?
In the same vein as "Like Water for Chocolate", how about Gabriel Garcia Marquez, something like "Love in the Time of Cholera." You can do a lot with Magical Realism, a whole unit if you wanted. And the film version of "Like Water for Chocolate" is great, and suitable for viewing in the classroom.
Also, Pablo Neruda was mentioned, he's one of my favorites!
Good ideas - I agree that Isabel Allende is an EXCELLENT author to use - really captures so much of Latin American literature. Another great author to use from my point of view would be Mario Vargas Llosa - his works such as The Storyteller, The Way to Paradise or The Feast of the Goat are really really good works of literature. Pablo Neruda deserves to be read by a much wider audience as other editors state. Also, I really strongly recommend shorter fiction by authors like Marquez - stories such as "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" and "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" are well worth reading. Another favourite author of mine who has written a marvellous book set in Mexico is Graham Greene. His The Power and the Glory is a riveting book all about a sinful priest who nevertheless is remaining true to his calling. Lastly, a book I haven't read but have had recommended is Bless Me, Ultima. Might be worth a look! Enjoy and let us know what books you go for!
When I was a high school teacher, I assigned Like Water for Chocolate and East of Eden as summer reading and then paired them for a semester-long unit on Women and Power, including "The Wife of Bath's Tale," Book IX of Paradise Lost, and the KJV of Genesis's story of the Fall of Man.
My students responded very well to Like Water for Chocolate and many of them selected it as their summer reading report centerpiece. We also saw clips from the film during the semester.
The previous posts are wonderful. I have always been partial to Carlos Fuentes' "The Buried Mirror," which is an excellent exploration of Latin American identity through art and politics. It is a fascinating read and using either excerpts of it and/ or the documentary he assembled for it would be wonderful. I think that any study of Latin American Literature has to start with his chapter on Spain's Golden Age, "El Ciglo del Oro." It really encapsulates what it means to be Latino in literature quite powerfully.
Isabel Allende's House of the Spirits and Portrait in Sepia would be fantastic. Don't forget Gary Soto's poetry and essays.
I second the vote for Pablo Neruda. His verse is beautiful, and if you are able, have someone read it aloud in class in both the original Spanish as well as English. He is both romantic and funny...just read "Ode to My Socks" and find out! :)
If you are including poetry, don't forget Pablo Neruda!
Funny you mention Solitude because Love In the Time of Cholera has been on my to-read list since seeing the movie.
What about House on Mango Street or Like Water for Chocolate? I've never taught either, but these titles have come on my radar somewhat often.
At my school they have used House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. Great story itself about a Chilean family over the generations, and a window in that culture as well and the differences between that nation and other parts of Latin America.
My second suggestion would be I, Rigoberta Manchu which tells of an indigenous woman/family in civil war torn Guatemala, amidst the atrocities suffered by the native population there.
Have you read the House of the Spirits?