Author Archives: roark48

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Before I actually read Anzaldua’s piece From Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, I read sfbull5’s post questioning the essay’s relevance to our class. So when I started reading the essay, I went into it wondering what it has to do with literary interpretation, and looking for answers to that question.

I can’t really say I found an answer, but I did come up with a number of questions in the process. First of all, what if we apply literature to the idea of the new mestiza? Anzaldua says that “the future will belong to the mestiza”, and speaks of a “new story” that she will create: “…yet I am cultured because I am participating in the creation of yet another culture, a new story to explain the world and our participation in it, a new value system with images and symbols that connect us to each other and to the planet” (2214). This notion of the future belonging to the mestiza makes me think of current literature/art/media as a type of mestiza in itself. In today’s world, almost every form of expression is globalized, shared and exchanged by way of the internet. Ideas and culture blend together and bounce back and forth from one corner of the world to another, essentially creating a new, inclusive and ever-changing breed of art and expression. So rather than asking how the essay applies to literary interpretation, what if we apply literature to the idea of the mestiza?

What are your thoughts on the essay itself as literature? The segment we read mixes Spanish and English, and is organized into sections with bilingual headings and various quotes. What are the effects of this unusual format, which is unlike anything we’ve read so far?

Lastly, reading Borderlands/La Frontera made me consider Junot Diaz’s presentation and how timely our assignment was. I haven’t read The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, but the portion Diaz read to us included a similar seamless interchanging of English and Spanish. I do not know for sure, but I imagine Diaz’s novel addresses similar issues to ones we see in this essay: belonging and yet not belonging to several cultures…confusion and ambiguity, flexibilty and ambivalence. Anyone who has read the novel have any insight?