Archivo mensual: febrero 2013

Galería de fotos 2 (Cisneros, Bambara, Cervantes)

Etzel Hinojosa:

One of the main concerns of Sandra Cisneros’ short story is the use of lanuguage. The main character is submited to a language that she does not understand. This struggle between languages is not an extraorinary one for the everyday life in the capital of Mexico. The present picture depicts a common image that us seen outside the Biblioteca Central. Men and women selling cigarros and paletitas, as the lady on the right, are as normal as the fountain of Tlaloc at her back. Most of them use Spanish for business and keep their own language to address their families. At the same time, the student on the left walks away of the library maybe dizzy and filled up with Chaucer’s words.

la foto-2

Karina Lamas:

The shadow that divides this piece of land makes me think about the border motif in Cisneros’ text. The border or the line that divides Mexico from el otro lado is an illusion just like the shadow in the picture. Although borders are human constructions, in Cleofilas’ case they are a space of transition. Borders are subtle because as the narrative voice tells us: “The town of gossips. The town of dust and despair. Which she has traded for this town of gossips. This town of dust, despair” (Cisneros 50) and they are also abrupt because of the change of language and code.


Lucía Rodríguez:

“Soledad y Dolores”

Alethia and I have two market bags that we use to bring our lunch to school. I bought these bags in Tlacolula, a small town in Oaxaca that is famous for its market. Looking at these bags, the use we give them, and the scholarly context in which they are now, make me think about a contrast between two different cultures that we may find in “Woman Hollering Creek.” I believe that within a single nation, Mexico, we may find this contrast… And this maybe noticeable even in small things as these.

la foto-3

Alethia Ochoa:

“Between borders”

Taking into account one feature of Cleófilas’ fragmented life in
“Woman Hollering Creek,” this is to say, the sense of belonging
nowhere, neither in Mexico nor in “al otro lado.” Every time I see the
sun dissapears behind the mountains, I like to  perceive the light of
the sky, as a chiarobscuro, in which is neither sunlight nor
moonlight. There is only the impression of blurred colours between
blue, black and orange. Thus, when it is neither day nor night, it
seems to be we are between borders and belong nowhere.


Montserrat Ochoa:

I decided to take this photo because of “La mujer dormida”, the name of this volcano evokes what I think happened to Cleófilas throughout the short story.  She is a “sleeping woman” who suffers the abuse of her husband and fantasizes with her life to be a telenovela. And in a way, it also makes reference to this lack of sound that exists in the text.

Mujer dormida

Etzel Hinojosa:

It was not difficult to find a relationship between what was being played on stsge and Toni Cade Bambara’s short story. The tune of the bass and the beats of the drum were as rhythmic as the narration of “Medley”

la foto-4

Juan Manuel Cisneros:

People traveling in the subway can function as an analog device to the one we see brilliantly displayed in Meadly. In the story different presences rise in and fade out of the narrative, flashing unexpected like improvised tunes of a randomized composition, yet carefully designed and used. These people who trespass a passage of a life as memories, work as digressions in a story that is being told and that is enriched with the many different emotional and substantial properties that they embody. For this reason the work of Bambara gives the impression of a planified chaos that can be paired with the chaotic planification of the day-to-day flow that we see in the subways. Here the confluence brings about inference, deduction and interpretation of the countless features of the persons, each holding a narrative voice themselves, who have a unique story. And all of this is nonsense as they are renewed by the following carts. So this process of transportation can be taken as a permanent digression that can be focalized on a specific individual, she for example, and related from that point; connecting with what the narrator considers meaningful. Also there is the constant music-seller with speakers attached to their backs, charming or teasing with their gangnam style, their 80´s-90´s sold as 70´s, or their best-of-something. But it is choice of the narrator whether it belongs to the story.


Juan Manuel Cisneros:

This picture reminds me of the roll that women have played in many different cultures throughout the centuries. I think this one is remarkable because it depicts a very comfortable and warm picture of a “typically American” home that epitomizes a so called pursuit of happiness. In this particular country, so proud of its rights, values and equality, slavery has become nothing but an eco of a very distant nation and , yet, one that can fill the hearts of its people with true pride. Here we have the same reasoning that stands before slavery but polished and sophisticated in a convenient package that pictures how lovely is the American life and how everything fits in its appropriate place. Compared to this, the fact Cleófilas life is delimited by isolation and cultural, linguistic, physic and economic marginalization is the only thing turns her condition into a social deficiency. It is very likely that both characters, one blonde and the other Mexican, suffer the same mistreatment, are beaten up and are unable to defy their status. However this box of a typical and ordinary board game understates that she is fine and that she has nothing to complain for she has fulfilled the ethos of her nation and all this is offered to the audience as a trustful product endorsed by the government that supports this way of living and keeps the misery of the underdevelopment away.


Eréndira Díaz:

Near my house there is this wall with an image of the Virgin Mary. One thing that has always captured my attention is the differences in her representation. I mean, European Virgin Marys have different physical traits than Mexican ones. And this may have been one of the crucial factors that led this religious figure to become such an important cultural link for some Mexicans who are abroad, especially for Chicanos. Probably this image is so relevant to them because it has become  part of a cultural baggage rather than an adorative religious symbol, such as “telenovelas” and commonplace “Mexican” phrases (such as, “¡Híjole!” or “¡Ándale!”). And it is also worth mentioning that Cisneros herself has a tattoo of the Virgin Mary.



Valeria Becerril:

The character of the woman in Medley is fragmented but at the end her role as a mother, which is represented by this song, is what remains.


Poetry Zone 2: Lorna Dee Cervantes

Lorna Dee Cervantes por Juan Manuel Landeros. Desactivaré los comentarios el miércoles 27 de febrero a las 10 am.

Puritan Valentine’s Day Cards

Para que no olviden parte de lo que han leído:

Galería de fotos 1 (Jefferson, Douglass, Wheatley)

Juan Manuel Cisneros:

Sometimes, when I was younger, I would wander around the streets and often end up here, a place to which I became well acquainted with the passing of time. Here are people I met. I think of and recall some friends lying next to me as I stand. Also there are children of the 90´s, ten years old children they were, whose empty bodies were left behind and insides carried out with very profitable purposes. I remember a glimpse of their faces on television when I was their age. I also remember a girl that came here in a pilgrimage. From all the atrocious things under the soil I remember her more.

Some people become proud of a horrid event close to their home and retell the story until it grows somehow obscure, and that is how I get to know this one. Today men are required to stay in another a city, some miles away from Tepotzotlan in their travel to the basílica, as for women, they have to stay in this town and continue early the next morning. The girl, or even child, was taken here by men before that rearrangement, making very difficult to blame someone. She was rapped and strangled with her own long, black braid. There was neither justice for her nor much her mental retardation would allow her to struggle or oppose. People believe they know the responsible. He comes from a family of religious beliefs and they are sure that if member of them becomes a priest, they clean the sins of the whole family. This is a regular practice.

No one cares anymore and this reminds me of Frederick Douglas´s search of justice and attack against a double moral religion. On the one hand I am sure this discourse has been used over and over again every time this terrible deeds arise, on the other I cannot be sure whether these particular case was true. Sometimes I see this man in the street, I see his hands and the bread he makes with his hands, and it makes me think.


Karina Lamas:

These images illustrate Eco’s book The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana which is about a man in his 60’s who is a rare-book dealer. This man, Yambo, has suffered a loss of memory tries to recover it by searching in boxes full of comics, newspapers, photo albums and books. These illustrations made me remember the text about the life of Frederick Douglass. Although Douglass represents the “New Negro” that allegedly challenges racist stereotypes because he was a self-made intellectual and an abolitionist hero (Cullen 159), stereotypical images of black people like those in Eco´s book still persist in the occidental imaginarium. In these clichéd images black people are represented like a bunch of drunken savages (image 4-5) with an exacerbated sexuality (Josephine Baker image 3) who can be treated as objects (image 2). Regarding the second image (the man carrying the black woman) Eco’s narrative voice says:

And then there were the colonial beauties, because even though Negroid types resembled apes and Abyssinians were plagued by a whole host of maladies, an exception had been made for the beautiful Abyssinian woman. The radio sang: Little black face / sweet Abyssinian / just wait and pray / we’re nearing our dominion / Then we’ll be with you / and gifts we’ll bring / yes we will give you / a new law and a new King.

Just what should be done with the beautiful Abyssinian woman was made clear in De Seta’s color cartoons, which featured Italian legionnaires buying half-naked, dark-skinned females in slave markets and sending them to their pals back home, as parcels.

But the feminine charms of Ethiopia had been evoked from the very beginning of the colonial campaign in a nostalgic caravan-style song: They’re off / the caravans of Tigrai / toward a star that by and by / will shine and glimmer with love. (Eco 192)

For me, this passage says it all. Although I am sure that neither Eco nor Yambo are racist or ill-intentioned towards black people, I think this passage illustrates the quotation that we were discussing last class: ‘A language is a map of our failures.’


Works Cited

Cullen Guesser, John. The Unruly Voice: Rediscovering Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1996.

Eco, Umberto. The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. New York: Hancourt Inc., 2004.

Eréndira Díaz:

I was doing some shopping and as I was on my way to the check-out, I came across the meat section of the supermarket, and I related slavery to meat-eaters. A question popped in my head while I was taking the photo: how is the oppressor better than the oppressed? How is the murderer more special than the murdered? Is slavery-owner, victim, profit, domination-exclusive to the human race? Have black, Jews, women and children been the only victims of it? Have not cows, pigs, chicken, and fish been enslaved? If they are not slaves, then what are they? Are they free?

And, contrary to political and religious dogma, I do not believe animals belong to us. They are not commodities, they are not property! And they are not inanimate, stupid objects who cannot think and feel. Evidently, slaves were not properties either; a human being cannot belong to another human being. Slaves were considered beasts. They were dehumanized and animals are still affected by the same arbitrary preconception in which they are not living, feeling beings but products which their only purpose in life is to serve us: what is the difference between a cat and a dog or a piglet? Why are ones considered “pets” and others, “food”? What would be the difference, if any is to be found, so substantial between two people with different phenotypic characteristics so as to consider one to be the powerful dominant and the other, the dominated?

How come that for the species who claims to understand right from wrong it is still natural and normal to consume death?

Etzel Hinojosa:

There is a stereotype in my candy. Frederick Douglass’s writings condemned many conventional images regarding slaves which were established as truths among his society. Nowadays, we still have these kind of images in our own culture.

Alethia Ochoa:

This morning when I was leaving home I saw my neighbour’s cat. It was
a black and white cat that was very quiet behind the bars of its door.
The colours of its fur made me think about the former class’
discussion about how slavery system may affect both slaveholders and
slaves at the same, as Frederick Douglass comments on his


Lucía Rodríguez:

During breakfast, as I was lingering on the image that I present here, I started reflecting on the American Dream, an idea that was once again reinforced in “The Declaration of Independence”: “that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” As I was regarding the image on the cereal box, which I consider to be an expression of an American Dream, I started questioning myself to what an extent are we influenced by this ideals, which do not actually belong to our history or our own vision of the world. And why is this being advertised as something that we might aspire to it regard as desirable? Are we also inheritors of the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence?

Valeria Becerril:

I chose a photograph of a book because of the importance that reading had on Frederick Douglass. He associates the ability to read with freedom.  And so he shares his knowledge with the others thus beginning his goal towards liberty.

Poetry Zone 1: Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley por Lucía Rodríguez. Desactivaré los comentarios el miércoles 13 de febrero a las 10 am.

“The Burning of Paper instead of Children” de Adrienne Rich

Aquí está el poema al que hice alusión hoy,  léanlo y me cuentan qué les parece. Por otra parte, les pido que retomen la idea de “A language is a map of…” para que se pregunten adónde lleva el uso de la lengua en cada uno de los textos que leeremos, ¿de qué tipo de mapa se trata, por dónde nos lleva y a qué destino nos conduce?

Sigue leyendo

Calendario de actividades 2013-2

Sesión Textos y presentadorxs
1 a) Thomas Jefferson, de The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson (from The Declaration of Independence) (sin presentador/a)b) Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself  y “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” Etzelc) Phyllis Wheatley (blog) Lucía
2 a) Sandra Cisneros, “Woman Hollering Creek” Karinab) Toni Cade Bambara, “Medley” Lucíac) Lorna Dee Cervantes (blog) Juan Manuel
3 a) Toni Morrison, Beloved Eréndirab) Wallace Stevens (blog) Etzel
4 a) Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance” y “The Poet” Alethiab) Henry David Thoreau, “Resistance to Civil Government” Etzelc) Walt Whitman, prefacio a Leaves of Grass y “Song of Myself” (blog) Lucía
5 a) Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn * Valeriab) Robert Frost (blog) Valeria
6 a) Raymond Chandler, “Red Wind” Montserrat
b) Dashiell Hammett, “Fly Paper” Montserrat
c) Edna St Vincent Millay (blog) Eréndira
7  a) J. D. Salinger,  The Catcher in the Rye * Juan Manuel b) e. e. cummings (blog) Karina
8 a) Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior * Karina b) Elizabeth Bishop (blog) Alethia
9 a) William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying * Julio Delgado
b) Adrienne Rich (blog) Juan Manuel
10 a) Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire Eréndira 
11 ?? a) Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey into Night Alethia b) Joseph Brodsky (blog) Montserrat
12 ¿¿?? a) Cormac McCarthy, The Road * Valeria
13 ¿¿?? a) Joy Kogawa, Obasan * Juan Manuel Cisneros 
14 Examen final