Sunday, September 28, 2008

estamos aquí como enterrados en la tierra

Este libro me recuerda mucho a una novella que leí el año pasado. Se llama Pedro Páramo de Juan Rulfo. Los dos autores han empleado una técnica distinto en estos cuentos. Es decir que la forma es un poco irregular. Nunca sabemos el nombre del personaje principal y durante las primeras páginas es difícil entender lo que pasa. No sigue una cronología regular tampoco. Aunque las descripciones de Martí y su empleo de adjetivos fueran difíciles de seguir, el estilo de escritura de Rivera es igualmente difícil de entender. Pero me gusta así que no sabemos todos los pedazos del rompecabezas hasta la última página.

Lo que me encontré interesante es el sentido de miseria y frustración  del hijo de la familia de trabajadores inmigrantes. A causa que Rivera fue un trabajador inmigrante como niño, puede escribir los sentimientos comunes de los trabajadores "Porqué es que nosotros estamos aquí como enterrados en la tierra?...Y todos los días, trabaje y trabaje. Para qué? Pobre papá...yo creo que nació trabajando" (44). Ser nacer en una familia pobre habría sido una cadena perpetua para un mexicano viviendo en los estados unidos y esto es como el personaje principal siente. Este narrativo explica los problemas y las luchas de un joven que crece en Texas durante los años 70. 

Pero de dónde viene los espiritus? Y tambien, qué podemos decir de la forma de este libro?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Coney Island

I chose to focus my blog on Martí's Coney Island. I was supposed to read Nuestra  America el año pasado but never got to it and therefore my knowledge of Jose Martí work isn't what it should be.
As I read Coney Island, I often lost track of the point Martí was trying to make - whether or not there was one - because he went of for paragraphs at a time describing the things he saw and his observations. His run on sentences and endless use of adjectives were poetic and beautiful but easily lost on me as my spanish vocabulary is lacking to say the least.
I did find many recurring descriptions and themes that I though would be an interesting topic of discussion (maybe someone else noticed them too?). I noticed that he seemed to always describe the United States with a sense of curiosity and wonder. Because Martí describes his thoughts in  long passages, I will as well. There always seem to be crowds or throngs of people (muchedumbres) everywhere, they are never sleeping and vary greatly in appearance and the women seem to be free to do what they please (even if they are married). The throngs of people parade around the street at all hours of the day. Wealth is available and everywhere, everything is new and exciting. Martí always plays the part of the observer, curious but never a participant. I can imagine him with his little mustache wandering late at night, unable to sleep, quiet but with eyes wide open, watching and making mental notes of all the wonderful and awful things he sees as he strolls the streets and allies of Coney Island. 
My question then is why is Martí glorifying the strangeness of the New York middle and lower-classes? Does he admire their sense of freedom (and real freedom from British colonists)? Has he never seen anything like this in Cuba and in Europe? He kind of sounds like a naive tourist that has a way with words to me. I enjoyed in none the less

Monday, September 15, 2008

el fin

I wouldn't say that the end was a complete let down, I enjoyed the book from beginning to end. It wasn't the most clever ending either but I felt that it stayed true to Ruiz de Burton's writing style by keeping the trick that was being planned secret until the plot itself played out. Surprises are always good.

What really grabbed my attention was Ruiz de Burton's mad rant in the conclusion "all the well-dressed women who have a perfect right to be stupid, because their husbands have brains; who have a perfect right to be silly and trifling, because their husbands conduct the mighty affairs of the nation; who have a perfect right to be spendthrifts, because their husbands have, by extortion and driving hard bargains, accumulated princely fortunes...who snub and ignore old acquaintances if seen driving in the Park in a hired hack-all of this fortunate class Ruth wished to lead, and she felt equal to the task" (287-8). Although she subtly makes this commentary throughout the novel about wealthy American women in society, I found this to be more of an angry rant less connected with the story and more to her personal life. This is the first time where she so clearly veers from her storytelling and shows her personal opinion. Can we apply this then to the entire story to help us better understand her goal or angle? 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pobrecita Lolita

How can one not pity poor Lola? From her birth to page 145, she is trapped living a life in which she has no control. She is held captive and prisoner from her birth by a native tribe in Colorado and then "saved" from those savages and brought to the United States to be eaten alive by New England's finest, Mrs. Norval (I think I might prefer the tribe but Ruiz de Burton never went into too much detail about life prior to Dr. Norval). Lola soon becomes the central victim of gossip, deceitful greed and ruthless plans for wealth what with her boxes of gold and dyed black skin. Every measure is taken to ensure her complete and utter unhappiness. 

Yet what can we say about the United States in the late 1800s from the story thus far? What does it mean to be an abolitionist in a Norther State prior to and during the civil war? And why, at this point in the story is it still accepted for Mrs. Norval treat young Lola with such rude, conniving and hateful behavior. She is after all, an incredibly wealthy Mexican girl of pure Spanish blood. What amazes me is that an ugly, bloody civil war is being fought between the Nation and the South when Mrs. Norval's sentiments regarding someone with (false) colour in their skin mirror the beliefs of the Southerners regarding slavery. Mrs. Norval would have been completely at ease with her conscience if she had left Lola to sleep with their servants. 

Although I realize that Mrs. Norval's racist way of thinking is not necessarily that of the senate and governors at this time but she is not alone in her evil way of thinking. All of New England seems to treat Lola with the same contempt and hate.  Abolition of slavery was not the only reason the Nation and South were fighting but it was a very important one. I cannot understand at this point in the story - and with my limited knowledge of history of the United States - how politics can escalade to war when the sentiments of the Nation resemble those of the South.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Me llamo Tessa Rowan y estoy en español 322 a UBC.