Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

How do the magical elements in Rudolfo Anaya’s fiction—visions, dreams, paranormal phenomena, allegorical characters—contribute to his themes? Do they help or hurt his fiction?

Anaya’s work is clearly interested in the relationship between personal identity and culture. What does Anaya see as the relationship between the individual and the individual’s cultural and ethnic community?

Frequently Anaya’s characters set off on quests, most often a metaphor for spiritual searching. For what do Anaya’s characters search?

How is Anaya’s vision of the contemporary spiritual crisis, the drift into materialism and selfishness, influenced by his own upbringing in and later abandonment of Catholicism? In what way is Anaya a religious writer?

What does Anaya suggest about the role of the contemporary ethnic writer when it comes to questions of cultural and community identity?

Anaya is known for uplifting, affirmative endings. Do you find his endings convincing? Are they intended to be realistic or inspirational?

Anaya’s fiction shows a deep and profound love of the land. How does Anaya react to the late twentieth century disregard for the sacramental holiness of the earth?

Trace the influence of and evidence of Anaya’s love of the tradition of oral storytelling.