Chicano Identity in Literature Analysis


(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

The 1970’s witnessed an explosion of literary production which firmly established the foundation of Chicano identity in literature. It began in 1970, with Ricardo Sánchez’s book of poetry Canto y grito mi liberación, Luis Omar Salinas’ Crazy Gypsy, and a new edition of Villarreal’s Pocho. Then, in 1971, Alurista published Floricanto en Aztlán, a book of poetry that became a classic. It speaks about the American Southwest as Aztlán, the mythical place of origin of the Aztecs. The book affirmed the Southwest as a geographical home and a literary space for the Chicano. Also in 1971, Tomás Rivera published And the Earth Did Not Part, a landmark novel about migrant workers from Southern Texas who harvest the crops for the rest of the world. Rivera’s work brought the farmworker, an important part of Chicano society, into the literary landscape. Finally, Luis Miguel Valdez published a collection of plays, Actos, which had been written and performed for César Chávez’s farmworkers’ movement in California. The plays were used as teaching tools that graphically explain the plight of the Chicano underclass and the social, historical, and economic reasons for that plight.

In 1972, Rudolfo A. Anaya published his first novel, Bless Me, Ultima. Bless Me, Ultima brings a powerful message about the land and how those who work it and live on it are affected by its unchanging...

(The entire section is 470 words.)