Negotiating pachuquismo: Drape shapes and Chicano identity in Luis Valdez's Zoot suit
Baugh, Scott L.
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Luis Valdez and other Chicano and Chicana cultural workers have posited one answer to this dilemma. Valdez argues that the Chicano and Chicana must create an independent identity and culture. Living between these two traditions, the Chicano and Chicana may selectively meld Mexican heritage with the mainstream culture in order to create a "reality" in which to survive. In his play Zoot Suit, Luis Valdez depicts one sense of reality by which Chicanes struggle to survive in 1940s American society. In order to best recognize Valdez's exposition of Pachuco-reality and its ideological construct, Pachuquismo, we must consider the historical perspective offered by the film and the independent Chicano culture and identity depicted throughout the work. In final analysis, we might best see the correlation between these elements in Valdez's play, his production, and the filming of the play on stage through his symbolic use of the zoot suit. Because Valdez set the creation and development of these elements in World War-torn America, we should initially examine the mainstream American culture in which the Pachucos of the 1940s struggled to survive.