The Chicano Gunfighter and the Mestiza Goddess: Contemporary Chicana/o identity in Américo Paredes's



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Texas Tech University


The notion of a complex process of identity construction due to the unique political and cultural Chicana/o situation at the U.S.-Mexico border is the focus of this thesis. What matters, that is, is how the Chicana/o "thinks" about his/her existence in such an historically conflicted space like the border after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, and how the Chicanas/os define themselves there through literature. For decades, Mexican American artists, authors, musicians, philosophers, and scholars have attempted to express the Chicana/o consciousness on the border. As part of the cultural group that lost this historical battle between the U.S. and Mexico, the contemporary Mexican American border intellectual has been challenged by his/her unique existence in this “in-between” border space. In With His Pistol In His Hand: A Border Ballad and Its Hero and in Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Américo Paredes and Gloria Anzaldúa attempt to reflect different processes of identity construction, respectively. Then, the question is: How do these authors interpret this unique existence "in between both possibilities" within their works differently? In order to examine these works, I will explore the border region as a unique space from which these authors explore identity construction, implying that the U.S.-Mexico border is a cultural, social, and political space which becomes a relevant force in this process. I will also explore how each author influences the way Chicanos/as think about themselves and their socially subaltern status on the border. I will also consider how each author affects Chicana/o identity construction as well as the affect each author has on the predicament into which the Chicana/o intellectual's process of identity construction falls when facing a postmodernist world.



Chicano, Identity, Border, Myth, Postmodernism, Anzaldu