What Do I Read Next?
Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 600
Gloria Anzaldua's Borderlands: La Frontera (1987) is a collection of personal essays and poetry from one of the major authors of the Chicana/o movement. The first half of the work (personal essays) deals with how Anzaldua sees herself as a woman, an Hispanic, and a lesbian. The second half is a collection of poetry written from Anzaldua's soul, which speaks of heartbreak, joy, loss, and triumph. The text is written in English with a large amount of Spanish without an attempt at translation. Anzaldua argues that her use of Spanish in an English text makes her non-Spanish readers feel just like Hispanic people do in an English-only world.
The House on Mango Street (1989) and Woman Hollering Creek (1991) are the two major works by Sandra Cisneros, perhaps the most recognized writer of the Chicana/o Movement. Both works, the first a novel, the second a collection of short stories, deal with the problems of being female and Hispanic in Anglo-America. The House on Mango Street is a coming of age novel about a Chicago girl named Esperanza, who through coming to grips with the poverty, class hatred, and ethnic stereotypes, creates a world of her own. Woman Hollering Creek is a collection of stories dealing with a vast array of Hispanic women from the young girl discovering sex to a professional woman trying to break the chains of Hispanic wifedom and motherhood.
Gabriella Ibieta's 1993 collection of short stories by Latin American writers contains thirty stories by twenty-two authors from a variety of countries and cultures. The stories are all translated or written in English and display the wide range of themes, similarities, and differences within the Latin community. There are stories by world-renowned authors like Jorge Luis Borges and Juan Rulfo as well as lesser known authors like Luisa Valenzuela and Augusto Roa Bastos.
Ana Castillo's novel The Mixquiahuala Letters (1986) and collection Goddess of the Americas: Writings on the Virgin of Guadalupe (1997) explore issues of femininity, family, and spirituality. The Mixquiahuala Letters is a novel written in letter or epistolary form telling the story of a friendship between two artists. One is Anglo, the other Hispanic. The novel traces their friendship over twenty years in a kind of odd-couple pairing of opposites who find that they need each other after all. Castillo's collection of essays, stories, and poems dealing with the Virgin of Guadalupe explores similar ground as her novels, but in a different way. Here she is exploring the way spirituality makes identity and how the use of a "native'' saint makes Hispanic spirituality different from other forms of Catholicism.
Mexican author Laura Esquivel's 1992 Como Agua Para Chocolate (translated by Carol and Thomas Christensen as Like Water for Chocolate) took America by storm in the early 1990s. This novel, told in a series of monthly installments with recipes and romances, explores rural life in turn of the twentieth century Mexico. The heart-breaking story of Tita and her lover Pedro, captures the hearts and minds of readers. The 1993 film version became the highest grossing foreign film in American history and the novel won the 1994 ABBY award from the American Booksellers Association.
The idea of womanist prose was defined in Alice Walker's In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens. This collection of essays, put together in 1983, explores the meaning, lives, and troubles of being female and Black in modern-day America. Much like what Castillo does for Hispanic women in her novel, Walker does in her essays and the 1981 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple. Walker's works strive to complete the picture of American life by opening the doors to the Black female experience.