AuthorBrito, Aristeo, Jr.
KeywordsMexican American literature (Spanish)
American literature -- Mexican American authors.
Villarreal, José Antonio. -- Pocho.
Anaya, Rudolfo A. -- Bless me, Ultima.
Méndez M., Miguel. -- Peregrinos de Aztlán.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractParaíso, Caída y Regeneración en tres novelas chicanas is a detailed literary analysis of three well-known chicano novels: Pocho, Bless Me, Ultima and Peregrinos de Aztlán. The approach is the utilization of the "paradise-fall-regeneration" pattern as a means to study the three stages of the principal characters' development. By identifying and characterizing this process within each of these novels, this writer acquires a better understanding as to what constitutes the characters' self-perception as well as their relation to the reality around them. This fictitious representation of Chicano life in turn sheds light on the three novelists' perceptions of what Chicano reality is and how it is reflected in their works. Pocho is a clear manifestation of the "fall" from Mexican traditional culture. The old characters* geographic and spiritual removal from what they consider the paradisal state and the slow eroding process of their cultural system is what the novel is about. Although the characters make a vain attempt at the preservation of these values, the defeat is clearly manifested in their children's acculturation, especially in the protagonist, Richard. At the end of the novel there is no indication that the characters attain some sort of regeneration. On the contrary, there is only chaos, a disintegrated marriage, and a psychologically disoriented protagonist. Bless Me, Ultima offers a much broader view of the "paradise-fall-regeneration” pattern and appears on various planes. Culture, from the protagonist's point of view, is not seen as conflict or as a fall but as an affirmation of cultural roots. Paradisal remnants of the New Mexican heritage are still manifest in contemporary life; thus, the fall is no more than the protagonist's coming of age. This fallen state is temporary and at the end of the novel the protagonist gathers all the knowledge acquired through his life experience and builds a positive world view. This new stage in life is what represents regeneration. Moreover, the incursion into the ancestral roots of New Mexican culture and the knowledge acquired in the writing of the novel is in itself an act of regeneration for the author. In this manner, the regenerative state in Bless Me, Ultima is also represented outside its fictitious boundaries. Peregrinos de Aztlán is by far the most complex of the three novels. It also represents the extreme "fall" of man. There is no paradise for the characters but a continuous degeneration of humanity on every conceivable plane. For the characters there is no salvation and human life can well be considered hell. Paradise is characterized by dreams and illusions which serve to help tolerate the dehumanizing existence of the characters. The regenerative state, consequently, is non-existent within the world of Peregrinos de Aztlán. Nevertheless, the work itself is an act of regeneration for the author and for the Chicano Movement because it is an act of rebellion. Méndez exposes a realistic condition of the two societies in which Chicanos live and offers the Chicano perspective of himself and his circumstance. His novel's importance is as great as Rudy Acuña's Occupied America in the area of the history of Chicanos in the Southwest. This dissertation has been written entirely in Spanish.
Degree ProgramGraduate College