Spanish 354 - Chicano Literature (Formerly Spanish 140)

Professor Sara E. Cooper

scooper@csuchico.edu

Office: Trinity 150

Telephone: 530-898-5161

Fax: 530-898-4711

Course Description/Objectives

This course counts toward a major or minor in Chicano Studies. The course fulfills the ethnic component of General Education and counts toward Senior Theme C: Cross-Cultural Explorations. This course does not count toward a major or minor in Spanish.

The objective of Spanish/Chicano Studies 140: Chicana/o Literature is to facilitate an introduction to textual production by Mexican/Mexican-American/Xicano/as in the United States. A 3-unit seminar taught in English, with the majority of readings in English (some are bilingual, or Caló, and others are available in multiple languages), this course will emphasize critical thinking and contemporary theories of literary and cultural criticism. We will read works--by men and women--from various periods. We will look at connections and changes through time and across geographical boundaries.

The course will involve lecture, viewing of film and art, reading of primary (literary) texts as well as background texts, discussions in small groups and in Socratic seminars in which priority will be given to informed textual analysis and understanding of the political and cultural context. Students will be required to participate actively in discussions, participate in electronic discussion of topics (on WebCT), participate in oral presentations, and complete a final research paper on a topic agreed upon by student and professor. This project will be presented orally during the final exam period.

Course Goals–Students will:

  • Understand the words "Chicana/o."
  • Have read and understood over 20 Chicana/o authors.
  • Understand the concept of film, spoken word, and graphic art as literature (text), in the context of Chicana/o literature.
  • Be familiar with major themes of Chicana/o literature.
  • Be cognizant of major issues relevant to the comprehension/analysis of Chicana/o literature (race, class, gender, sexuality, politics, language, nation, identity, etc.).
  • Be aware of trajectory of men’s and women’s contribution to Chicana/o literature.
  • Be able to link Chicana/o literature to the Chicana/o political movement–define personal goals or desires consonant with the same.
  • Become more familiar with Internet use appropriate for academic setting.
  • Be proficient in the use of e-mail (including attachments) and bulletin board discussion.
  • Make and give one Power Point presentation.
  • (Optional: Create an Internet web page)
  • Be able to articulate levels of personal identification (or lack of identification) with protagonists, antagonists, and issues in works of Chicana/o literature.
  • Be able to express other personal reactions to readings (in written and oral form) –develop personal voice.
  • Be able to carry out a formal (structural and stylistic) analysis of works of Chicana/o literature/cultural production.
  • Research and analyze a work of Chicana/o cultural production chosen in consultation with professor.

Prerequisites: None

Textbooks/Materials required:

Access to WebCT

Manuel de Jesús Hernández-Gutiérrez and David William Foster, eds. Literatura chicana 1965-1995: An Anthology in Spanish, English, and Caló. New York: Garland P, 1997.

Rudolfo Anaya Bless Me Ultima

Reader

Grading Criteria

  1. Grades will be assigned as a letter with a numerical value, and there will be no curve. Final grades will be announced after they have been turned in, the week after finals. For any questions about grading *at any time during the semester* please visit office hours.
  2. 94-100=A (Extraordinary work) 90-93.4=A- (Superior work) 88-89.4=B+ (Very good work) 84-87.4=B (Good work) C = (Satisfactory, average work) D = (Unsatisfactory work) etc.
  • You must turn in all ASSIGNED WORK by the date and time specified for complete possible credit. For each class day late, 10% will be deducted from total possible credit.
  • 25% Participation. Your attendance and participation are vital to your success in this class. An excellent participation grade will reflect that you ask questions, answer questions, contribute actively in-group work, and are well-prepared for the topics covered. In class "Quick-Writes" will be used to assess level of preparation. Absence or failure to participate will lower your grade. Ringing cell phones or beeping beepers will lower your grade. Field trips and out of class work such as films are mandatory.
  • 25% Oral Presentations Students will sign up in small groups (2-3 students) to help the professor introduce and guide discussion of the day's readings. Also, students will participate in a group project in public for Day of the Dead or Cinco de Mayo or César Chávez Day. The grades will be averaged.
  • 25% Electronic Responses . Students will write and post short essays that answer questions about texts or explore topics within the course readings. For instance, students will write plot summaries, descriptions of characters, analyses of themes, structure and style, and discussions of ideological and/or historical content. All of these assignments will allow students to develop skills necessary to complete the final written project. The grades will be averaged.
  • 25% Final Project. Students will complete a final written project that demonstrates a deep understanding of a work of Chicana/o cultural production (chosen in consultation with professor). The student will include elements of literary analysis practiced during the semester. The essay WILL NOT be biographical or descriptive in nature. The grade will be averaged from the various drafts or stages of the project (including topic, thesis, outline, bibliography, first draft, final draft) and will be based on content and writing style. Various in-class writing workshops will allow students to move forward on project in a timely manner. The final product should be 5-7 pages, include a list of works cited, MLA format, double-spaced, 12 point font, one-inch margins, proofread and spell-checked in academic ENGLISH. At the final exam session, students will present their work of literature to the class, commenting on its value in terms of literary style, treatment of themes and ideological/historical content.

Plagerism on any assignment will result in zero credit for the assignment. A second offense will result in failutre of the course and being reported to student judicial affairs.

 Topics and Readings

Definition of Chicano/a. Definition of literature. Discussion of literary genre. Basic literary terminology. The multiplicity of critical paradigms. ANTHOLOGY Mario Suárez "El Hoyo" p. 104-06History of Chicano/a literature: ANTHOLOGY Preface p. xix-xxvii; "Presentación: Chicano/a Literature: A Generational Tapestry of Colors" p. xxix

Border/Crossing.

  • READER Tomás Rivera "The Harvest"; Patricia Preciado Martin "Carlota Silvas Martín" (from Songs My Mother Sang to Me)
  • READER Gloria Anzaldúa "By Your True Faces We Will Know You"; ANTHOLOGY Demetria Martínez "Nativity: For Two Salvadoran Women, 1986-1987" p. 271-2
  • FILM Tomás Rivera And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him
  • ANTHOLOGY Gary Soto "Daybreak" and "Mexicans Begin Jogging" 240-41; Bárbara Brinson Curiel "Recipe: Chorizo con Huevo Made in the Microwave" p. 273-5

Quest for Self and Agency:

  • ANTHOLOGY Ysidro Ramón Macías "The Evolution of the Mind" p. 38-46; Octavio Ignacio Romano-V. "The Historical and Intellectual Presence of Mexican Americans" p. 47-61
  • ANTHOLOGY Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzáles "I am Joaquiín" p. 207-22; Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado "Stupid America" p. 223; RaúlRSalinas "Los caudillos" p. 231-3; Ricardo Sánchez "Barrios of the World" 236-37.
  • ANTHOLOGY Estela Portillo Trambley "The Paris Gown" p. 110-19; Alejandro Murguía ""A Long Walk" p. 123-29
  • FILM La vida loca ; READER la Chrisx "La Loca de la Raza Cósmica"
  • ANTHOLOGY Juan Felipe Herrera "Are You Doing That New Amerikan Thing?" p. 254-256; Alma Luz Villanueva "Trust" p. 279-80

Language:

  • ANTHOLOGY Jesús María H. Alarid "El idioma español" p. 205-06; José Montoya "El Louie" p. 224-27; Alurista "Tarde sobria" p. 234-35; José Antonio Burciaga "Poema en tres idiomas y caló" p. 242-43.
  • ANTHOLOGY José Antonio Burciaga "Pendejismo" p. 90-92; READER Alicia Gaspar de Alba "Literary Wetback"

Family and Growing up:

  • Rudolfo Anaya Bless Me Ultima
  • FILM Mi familia/My Family
  • ANTHOLOGY Alberto Alvaro Ríos "Then They’d Watch Comedies" p. 135-44; Gary Soto "Looking for Work" p. 151-54; READER Tomás Rivera "The Salamanders"
  • ANTHOLOGY Lorna Dee Cervantes "Beneath the Shadow of the Freeway" p. 248-51; Helena María Viramontes "The Moths" p. 145-49

Literature and Death:

  • READER: Cleofas M. Jaramillo "Shadows Of The Past–Vi. Memories"; Irene Blea "Mourning a Sister’s Death
  • READER: Margarita Cota-Cárdenas "Wimpy’s Wake"; Sandra Cisneros "Velorio"; Cordelia Candelaria "Did You Die"
  • ANTHOLOGY: Luis Omar Salinas ""Death in Vietnam" p. 237, Alberto Alvaro Ríos "Mi abuelo" p. 252-53

Myths and Archetypes:

  • READER Erlinda Gonzales-Berry "Malinche Past"; Alicia Gaspar de Alba "Malinchista, A Myth Revisited"; Ada Sosa-Riddell "Como Duele"; Carmen Tafolla "La Malinche"; Angela de Hoyos "La Malinche a Cortez y Vice Versa"
  • READER: "Bridging Sexualities"; In class view Representations of the Virgin of Guadalupe by artists Ester Hernández, Alma López, Yolanda López, Tomasa Rabasa (A & M Kingsville)
  • READER Carmen Tafolla "444 Years After"; Sandra Cisneros "Little Miracles, Kept Promises"; Lydia Camarillo "Mi Reflejo"
  • READER Naomi Quiñonez "La Llorona"; Cordelia Candelaria ""La Llorona: At Sixteen; Portrait by the River"
  • ANTHOLOGY Cordelia Candelaria "Letting La Llorona Go, or Re/reading History’s ‘Tender Mercies’" p. 93-97

Gender and Sexuality:

  • ANTHOLOGY: Gina Veldés There Are No Madmen Herep. 409-487.
  • ANTHOLOGY "Notes From a Chicana ‘Co-ed’" p. 245-47; Beverly Silva "The Cat" p. 155-58
  • ANTHOLOGY Gloria Anzaldúa "La conciencia de la meztiza: Towards a New Consciousness" p. 75-89
  • ANTHOLOGY Cherríe Moraga Giving Up the Ghost p. 301-330.
  • READER Horacio N. Roque Ramírez "El Sereno"

The Future of Chicano Literature:

  • ANTHOLOGY Francisco H. Velásquez "Chicanology: A Postmodern Analysis of Meshicano Discourse" p. 3-37
  • READER Monica Palacios "Describe Your Work"
  • CD spoken word Marisela Norte "Act of the Faithless"Norte Word 1991 Alliance Records

Guidelines for Assignments

Quick-Writes will be used to assess level of preparation. Approximately once a week, or as necessary, the instructor will give you 10 minutes at the beginning of the hour to write an unplanned response to one of the readings (or films, etc.) for the day. You will have time to write anywhere from a short paragraph to a page. The most important thing is to respond to the prompt; don't get off onto other topics. Although you will be writing quickly and may make errors, please try to use the best English possible under the circumstances. Some of the possible writings the instructor might require include:
  1. Write about your feelings about a certain character;
  2. Write about the use of language in the reading;
  3. Choose a passage from the reading that reflects the topic of "family" and write your thoughts about that passage;
  4. Choose the most interesting passage of the reading and explain your interest.

Oral Presentations Students will sign up in small groups (2-3 students) to help the professor introduce and/or guide discussion of the day's readings. The students should consult briefly with the instructor to determine exact content. In general, oral presentations should always include the following elements:

  1. Appropriately formal dress and behavior.
  2. Remember that a presentation is NOT READING from a paper. From time to time you may refer to your paper or to notes, but you should be familiar enough with what you want to say that you may simply talk to your audience.
  3. Presentations should make use of relevant and interesting visual stimuli. Prepare a handout, an overhead transparency, or a Power Point presentation, or choose a brief video clip (about 2 minutes max) to illustrate a particular point.
  4. If you introduce an author, mention ONLY the biographical elements that shed some light on the class reading, or that have intrinsic interest for this audience--mostly students. You definitely may want to talk about the author's connection to or participation in the Chicana/o Movement or other political struggle.
  5. Guiding a discussion requires careful preparation on the part of the presenters. A good idea is to have a list of questions to throw out to the class for discussion. Some basic questions are appropriate, like "Who are the main characters?" and "What is the central message of the story?" The best questions are usually analytical "how" or "why" questions, like "How does the author get her message across?" or "Why is the main character so interesting to the reader?"

Group project in public for Day of the Dead or Cinco de Mayo or César Chávez Day. The class will have two class days to plan and one class day to carry out a group presentation/skit/informational booth/or other interesting and beneficial project for public consumption on one of the major Chicano/a holidays. Students will also have to work outside of class on this project. Grades will assess the student's effort and participation, as well as the quality of the content she or he contributes.

 Electronic Responses . Students will write and post short essays that answer questions about texts or explore topics within the course readings. Always use your own words, adding direct quotes in quotation marks, with the corresponding page number in parenthesis. Always have an introductory statement and a conclusion. Use transition words and separate into paragraphs where possible.

  1. Plot summary: A plot summary is a brief essay that concisely summarizes the narrative thread of the story, or plot. In general, write the principal actions that have to do with the central story. Do not include details that have nothing to do with the central story. For example, a plot summary of "Little Red Riding Hood" (Caperucita Roja) would include at least Red's plan to go to Grandma's, the warning to stay on the path, her failure to heed the warning, her meeting with the wolf, the wolf's eating of the grandmother, Red's arrival and conversation with the wolf, the rescue by the woodsman (the climactic encounter), and the moral of the story.
  2. Description of a character: Write a thorough description of the character, including all physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual characteristics that are said directly or that you can intelligently deduce. Be sure and use your own words or quote with quotation marks.
  3. Analysis of a theme: Think about how the theme is represented or treated in the story, film, or work of art. Some questions that you could address include: Is this the principal theme, or a less important theme? What is the message that the reader gets about this theme--what is the author trying to say about it? What does the theme have to do with the central message or moral of the work? Which characters are particularly important to the theme, and how? Do different characters have contradictory opinions about the topic? How does the use of language contribute to the development of the theme?
  4. Analysis of structure: Write about how the story is structured and how this contributes to the value of the story. Do any quotations or prologues appear at the beginning of the text, and why? Are there chapters or other obvious divisions or sections? Does the entire story take place in chronological order, or are there flashbacks, memories, predictions about the future, etc.? From whose point of view is the story narrated--one of the characters, or an outside narrator? Is the narrator omniscient? Is the narrator reliable, or is she a child, a crazy person, or someone with something to prove? How much dialogue is there?
  5. Analysis of style: Write about the author's writing style. How does the writer use language in the story? Is the prose clear and straightforward, or is it cyclical, jumpy, or confusing? Does it sound at all like poetry or theater? Is the tone romantic, sad, nostalgic, melancholy, silly, optimistic, idealistic, pessimistic, cynical, etc., and what contributes to the tone? Is the story an example of some particular writing style, like a chronicle, romance, the picaresque, detective story, suspense thriller, etc? Is the text obviously from a particular literary movement, like postmodernism, and why do you think so?
  6. Discussion of historical content: Write about the era in which the story is set and how the story reflects the reality of that time. Does the story inform us about past customs, like mode of dress, language, manners, family dynamic, gender roles, social classes, etc? Does the story fictionalize historical events or figures? Does the story give a new perspective about known events? Is there any implied (or direct) criticism or romanticizing about the era? If the story is set in a previous time period, substantially before it was written, talk about why the author might have set the work in the past and how her more contemporary viewpoint might change what she writes about the previous era.
  7. Discussion of ideological content: Write about the implicit or explicit messages that come through the text. Is the author, or perhaps any of the characters, trying to teach us about a particular political, religious, or philosophical ideal? Does the text include any references to the Bible, philosophers, or other great thinkers? Do different characters have contradictory ideals? Are either one of them shown as better or worse than the other, so that the reader sympathizes more with one character? Does the story have a moral?
Final Project. Students will complete a final written project that demonstrates a deep understanding of a work of Chicana/o cultural production (chosen in consultation with professor). The student will include elements of literary analysis practiced during the semester. The essay WILL NOT be biographical or descriptive in nature. The final product should be 5-7 pages, include a list of works cited, MLA format, double-spaced, 12 point font, one-inch margins, proofread and spell-checked in academic ENGLISH.
  1. Topic/theme: Write a short paragraph stating the literary (or cultural) work you will research for your final project and describing the topic or theme you would like to focus on. It is crucial to choose a topic that will sustain your interest, as it will guide you in your entire project.
  2. Thesis: "An attitude or position on a problem taken by a writer or speaker with the purpose of proving or supporting it." (Holman & Harmon, A Handbook to Literature 502) Write an interesting and relative affirmative statement, having to do with the literary (or cultural) work, that you believe you can prove on the basis of logic, critical research, and reference to the text.
  3. Bibliography: Research your topic using the MLA International Bibliography, a Meriam Library search, and any other database searches you are familiar with (like Academic Universe). For any books or articles that are not in our library or available online, but sound like they would be perfect for your topic, request them through Interlibrary Loan. Be sure and note down author, titles of articles and books, date and place of publication, volume and number and pages of any journal articles, etc. After researching the literary work, author, and theme, prepare a full bibliography in the correct format. This will be the majority of the research that will be required to write your paper. Use the MLA stylebook (available in the library or the bookstore) for the exact format you must use. Points will be taken off for incorrect punctuation, spelling, alphabetical order, etc.
  4. Outline: This is the first step of actually writing your paper. Start by rewriting your thesis sentence. This is what you will prove. In the outline, you must write each of the major points in your argument to prove the thesis. If you can already predict what the sub-points will be, you may include them too. Go ahead and choose appropriate quotations from your literary work and from your research material to include in your outline.
    • The following are good web sites with explanations and examples of outlines:
      http://www.williams.edu/dean/wws/outline.html
      http://www.homestead.com/mscourses/files/OutlineSuggestions.htm
      http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_outlin.html
  5. First draft: Write a complete first draft of your paper, on the basis of your outline, incorporating all suggestions from professor and peers. Use correct MLA citation and convert your bibliography into a works cited
    • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/workshops/hypertext/ResearchW/1draft.html
  6. Final draft: Revise and polish your paper, incorporating suggestions and addressing ALL recommendations or questions that the professor had about your first draft. Make sure your MLA format is perfect. See this website for some great suggestions on how to revise and polish:
    • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/workshops/hypertext/ResearchW/revise.html
  7. Oral Presentation: Present for about 5 minute on your literary work, stating your thesis for your paper and your main points of argument. Conclude by commenting briefly on its value in terms of literary style, treatment of themes and ideological/historical content. Use appropriately formal dress and behavior. Remember that a presentation is NOT READING from a paper. From time to time you may refer to your paper or to notes, but you should be familiar enough with what you want to say that you may simply talk to your audience. Prepare a Power Point presentation that is interesting and helps your audience follow your presentation.