Saturday, November 22, 2008

A sad goodbye

I'll limit my sentimentality to my title.
I'll say I am happy to explore a relatively unexplored genre in the world of literature. Although it is a smaller genre, it addresses and gives life to the experiences of millions of people. This is what I thought was most important about this class; the life given to so many unheard voices by a select few. I listened in class to the comments of people who have been immigrants, and was interested to hear how well they identified with the stories. I saw in Carmen Rodriguez a woman who wanted to represent her people, to speak out where there was silence....and I was amazed to hear that the Chilean people's silence persisted long after the publication of the book because they were not ready to break the silence. This fact impressed me deeply; Rodriguez gave voice to the many people who had had the same experiences, because no one else had done or was ready to do so. I imagined all the Dominicans in New York, all the Mexicans in the Southwest, all the Chileans in Canada, and all the Latin Americans who look up to this big white north, which weighs heavily upon their more slender southern land. The immigrant experience is a relatively recent phenomenon, a modern expression of globalization, and as an increasing number of immigrants cross borders, an increasing number of stories need to be told. And we saw in this class that an increasing number of people are telling these stories on behalf of those who shared this experience with them. I found in Rivera's work an encouragement for these immigrants to find strength in each other and unite their voices in order to be heard, and thought it was a message all marginalized people should hear. I found in Alvarez' and Cisneros' books an encouragement of the acceptance of hybridity, of being neither one thing nor another, but both. I found in all of the stories (although to a lesser extent Rivera) a weighing of good things in the new culture versus bad ones and good things in the left-behind culture and bad ones. Marti's incredible description of the true liberty, the freedom of America countered his criticism of the materialism, the lack of class. These contrasts exist in all things.
My favourite writing was Marti, as you know, because of the beauty of the language, the power of the images, the purity of the idealism. Second place I will award to Sandra Cisneros, for the originality of her expression and imagery, and because of how much I identified with the Mexican aspect of it (how many times has my mother said, "Never marry a Mexican!", how many Mexican women I've seen who've been hurt by their men, how I agree that to love in Spanish is one thousand times more beautiful than loving in English!). And third place goes to Tomas Rivera, again for how much I love and identify with Mexico's culture as well as for the emotional power of his writing.
A note about the Wikipedia article, which created so much rage within me sometimes: this was an important experience for me because I am terrible at groupwork and I absolutely cannot do large projects gradually (I need pressure to function), and so I had to overcome these things. In the end, though, it feels cool to have contributed somehow to the general education of the WORLD haHAAA. I feel like I've done something to alleviate, if ever minutely, the massive ignorance of the modern world.
Y Basta.

1 comment:

katiekat said...

haha, I love your comments on the wikipedia project! It's true that it wasn't for all types of students, but I agree that there's a definite sense of accomplishment in contributing to it.
I agree with your review of Carmen Rodriguez's courage. It really is amazing that so many people who went through the same struggles wanted to keep quiet about makes me wonder what I'd do...