Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

. . . and the earth did not part (1971), the volume in which this story appears, was one of several works published in the 1970’s that brought to the tradition of Chicano fiction a new degree of artistic quality.

Chicano fiction, that literature by and about Americans of Mexican descent, began to make great strides in the 1960’s. With the founding in 1969 of Quinto Sol, a publishing house dedicated to Mexican American, or Chicano, literature, and the subsequent institution of the Quinto Sol Prize, Chicano fiction of high artistic quality received a needed boost. Rivera’s . . . and the earth did not part was one of the first works to receive this prize.

In terms of structure and narrative technique . . . and the earth did not part is highly unusual. As noted above, it is a cycle of linked stories: twelve vignettes, formed by a very brief opening “chapter” (about a half-page long) and a longer concluding chapter. The opening chapter presents the problem of the young boy’s confusion and his need to resolve the problem through recalling the events of the past year. In the last chapter, he recapitulates the contents of the twelve vignettes and forms his conclusions. Each of the vignettes (and the concluding chapter as well) is preceded by a self-contained, brief italicized passage, only a few lines long, which plays against the piece that follows.

The author employs a wide variety of narrative...

(The entire section is 404 words.)