The first part, divided into seven chapters, is mostly prose based upon a specific topic. Anzaldua mixes in some poetry in both Spanish and English, but she mostly sticks to prose. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from a great Hispanic thinker. In the second part Anzaldua writes abstract poems. Many small poems compile to depict her personal experience of the Earth.
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The first part, divided into seven chapters, is mostly prose based upon a specific topic. Anzaldua mixes in some poetry in both Spanish and English, but she mostly sticks to prose. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from a great Hispanic thinker.
In the second part Anzaldua writes abstract poems. Many small poems compile to depict her personal experience of the Earth. Anzaldua begins by stating clearly that this work is written concerning the U.
She describes how a borderland forms a third, in-between country. The current borderland once belonged to the Aztec nation, the noble brutal warrior peoples.
As if the land itself dictates its purpose, those geographical spaces today still attempt to unify people who share that same sort of religious nobility sa the Aztec. Anzaldua compares the border to an open wound inflicted by the opposing nations upon the land. What once was a beautiful home has now becomes a bleeding mass for no good reason. Amid the pain, however, the Chicano people united to form their own home and their own culture. Growing up in south Texas, Anzaldua feels that her culture -- Chicano culture -- molded her into a pariah.
Even within her own community she was often rejected for her identification as queer. Her people speak Chicano Spanish, an amalgamation of Castilian Spanish, English, and Tex-Mex, and it is the language in which she writes the book. She code-switches frequently, sometimes without including Spanish translations. As a young girl, she remembers her mother warning her to beware of snakes. They could climb up into her and impregnate her.
This led to some harrowing encounters with real snakes, which her mother killed. Anzaldua explains the various ancient goddesses of the southern natives which were connected by Mexican tradition to the story of the Virgin Guadalupe.
The snakes are believed to be divine, representing the darker powers of the Earth. Analyzing the various folktales and how they connect, Anzaldua explains that the goddesses all experienced a similar, willful repression. They recognized darkness within themselves -- a process called Coatlicue -- and turned away from it, hiding it away. Anzaldua takes this personally, and forces herself into a Coatlicue state intentionally through meditation in order to face the darkness within her own soul.
Anzaldua revisits the language concept next. She remembers how tediously she was forced to work in order to eliminate her Spanish accent when she was in elementary school. Teachers would punish her for speaking Spanish or pronouncing her English poorly. Raised in a Spanish-speaking household, her younger self did not understand how someone could hate an entire language.
She does not believe in the superiority of one language over the next. As an adult, then, she easily adopted Chicano Spanish as an open political statement of identity. She is one of the in-between ones. The Chicano Movement, at the deft pen of Anzaluda, is transformed into a type of religious conviction. She explains that those who take their identity seriously among the Chicano community have chosen to embrace the duality within themselves.
They practice willing contradiction and live amid ambiguity. According to an almost folkloric tradition, the Chicanos are called upon to approach their world free from subject-object duality. They are witnesses to the mixed, mestiza nature of life, so they are empowered to look beyond duality and embrace the contradictions of each experience based upon their own complicated heritages. The second part of the book dives into poetry.
Riddled with references to Native American folk tales and Mexican Catholic folklore, she simultaneously demonstrates the somewhat obsolete nature of tradition and its profound influence on her life. She traces the specific ideas which shaped her from childhood to mature adulthood.
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Literary Analysis of Gloria Anzaldúa’s “Borderlands”
Some passages that resound: A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. The world is not a safe place to live in. We shiver in separate cells in enclosed cities, shoulders hunched, barely keeping the panic below the surface of the skin, daily drinking shock along with our morning coffee, fearing the torches being set to our buildings, the attacks in the streets. Shutting down. Woman does not feel safe when her own culture, and white culture, are critical of her; when the males of all races hunt her as prey. Institutionalized religion fears trafficking with the spirit world and stigmatizes it as witchcraft. It has strict taboos against this kind of inner knowledge.
But what happens when that liminal state is a permanent residence? Although Anzaldua passed away in , her ideas may be even more relevant today. As an American-born Chicana, Anzaldua explores the contradictions and challenges of being considered neither one nor the other. She notes often in her writing that this Otherness is socially and culturally — and sometimes — infrastructurally constructed. Those who permanently reside in this liminal state already are not considered normal, Anzaldua asserts. Americans see the border people as too Mexican.