Ends of Assimilation: The Formation of Chicano Literature by John Alba Cutler

By John Alba Cutler

Ends of Assimilation examines how Chicano literature imagines the stipulations and prices of cultural switch, arguing that its thematic preoccupation with assimilation illuminates the functionality of literature. John Alba Cutler indicates how mid-century sociologists complicated a version of assimilation that overlooked the interlinking of race, gender, and sexuality and characterised American tradition as homogeneous, strong, and remarkable. He demonstrates how Chicano literary works from the postwar interval to the current comprehend tradition as dynamic and self-consciously advertise literature as a medium for influencing the path of cultural switch. With unique analyses of works through canonical and noncanonical writers--from Américo Paredes, Sandra Cisneros, and Jimmy Santiago Baca to Estela Portillo Trambley, Alfredo Véa, and Patricia Santana--Ends of Assimilation calls for that we reevaluate assimilation, literature, and the very language we use to speak about tradition.

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46 In the midst of the violence, Gumersindo and María Gómez bear a son they name George Washington Gómez because, as Gumersindo puts it, “He is going to be a great man among the Gringos” (16). After Texas Rangers kill 36 Ends of Assimilation Gumersindo during the racist reprisals for the uprising, Guálinto’s uncle Feliciano moves the family to a border town called Jonesville-on-theGrande, a fictional version of Brownsville, Texas. As in Pocho, George Washington Gómez centers on Guálinto’s coming-of-age during the Great Depression.

53 Manuel M. 54 Of the many institutions that mediate the production of Chicano/a literature, the university has proven most central, as I argue in chapter 2. The modern university’s flexibility and heterogeneity resist both assimilation sociology’s construction of a homogeneous “American mainstream” as well as Introduction 19 antiassimilation’s separatism and untenable insistence on cultural maintenance. Postwar developments in US higher education also link up historically to the formation of Chicano/a literature as a field.

He cried” (112). Richard’s dramatic reaction indicates that he understands better than Ricky the implications of cultural prohibitions against gay sexuality, which demand that its possibility remain unspoken for the maintenance of homosocial bonds. But the intensity of Richard’s reaction also implies that his desire for Ricky goes beyond friendship. When Richard taunts Zelda for having dirty legs and proceeds to initiate the group rape, he enacts an aggressive form of the masculine domination that he earlier had feared from Ricky.

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