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Abstract

This chapter explores how two young Afro-Dominican writers, Raquel Cepeda and Jasminne Méndez, articulate their memoirs around diverse and changing experiences and stories that help (re)construct the Latino imaginary. By evoking memories from the past, these writers provide glimpses of the traumatic experiences suffered by Dominican-Americans in the U.S. and try to overcome racialized constructions of identity while delineating new spaces for enacting their polyhedral identities. The authors analyzed in this essay demonstrate that by proposing more sophisticated ways of expressing their Latino/a identity, they can move towards a more open notion of latinidad that enables them both display multifaceted selves and reconstruct/renegotiate their fractured modes of belonging across a variety of contexts. By delving into issues of race, gender, and memory, this chapter sets the stage for the particular notions and formation of pan-ethnicities discussed in this volume and brings to the fore the notion of intersectional latinidad.

In: Latinidad at the Crossroads

Abstract

Donald Barthelme is drawn to the fertile irrationality of the fairy tale as it allows him to scrutinize unconventional narrative paths and challenge mimetic modes of representation. This chapter explores the techniques employed by Barthelme in his fairy-tale rewritings to break the mirror posed to society into multiple pieces so as to offer polyhedral visions of postmodernity and expose the mechanics of fiction-writing. A further aim is to analyze how avant-garde designs are constructed out of verbal and cultural debris to create worlds of fantasy that interrogate stale literary conventions and force the reader to transit entangled literary forests and construct meaning out of irresolution and multiplicity.

In: Contemporary Fairy-Tale Magic

Abstract

Donald Barthelme is drawn to the fertile irrationality of the fairy tale as it allows him to scrutinize unconventional narrative paths and challenge mimetic modes of representation. This chapter explores the techniques employed by Barthelme in his fairy-tale rewritings to break the mirror posed to society into multiple pieces so as to offer polyhedral visions of postmodernity and expose the mechanics of fiction-writing. A further aim is to analyze how avant-garde designs are constructed out of verbal and cultural debris to create worlds of fantasy that interrogate stale literary conventions and force the reader to transit entangled literary forests and construct meaning out of irresolution and multiplicity.

In: Contemporary Fairy-Tale Magic

Abstract

Drawing on Levinas’s contention that language is inextricably connected to hospitality because it allows us to share the world with the Other, this article explores controversial issues related to language exchanges and linguistic tensions that spring when power, hospitality, and space are being questioned and contested. US barriocentric novels vividly portray how linguistic barricades separate outsiders from insiders by delimiting a psychical and linguistic territory where the immigrant is at a disadvantage in a decidedly monolingual host country. This article examines the metaphor of hospitality in Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street and Piri Thomas’s Down these Mean Streets through the magnifying lens of language use and code switching in order to gain a deeper insight into the ways in which ethnolinguistic identities are constructed and power relationships negotiated and challenged. In these novels, the use of the home language versus the host language brings to the fore other concerns connected to displacement and unstable resettlement as well as identity issues that reflect a fractured mode of belonging. In Cisneros’s novel, the main issues posed by the dichotomy of the use of homeland versus host-country language create a breach between immigrants who are willing to accept assimilation and sameness as a sign of empowerment, and those who prefer to protect their linguistic space in order to maintain the link that connects them to their homeland’s culture and values, as well as to delimit identitarian borders. In Thomas’s Down These Mean Streets () the linguistic enactment of identity becomes even more complex since the characters are forced to either resort to their homeland language or to code switching to challenge stereotypical social and ethnic categories. Most of the characters of Piri’s novel have hybrid sociolects and, therefore, use linguistic forms from different language varieties of Spanish and English to display multifaceted identities that undermine the negative clichés attached to the immigrants living in depressed and impoverished inner cities. These characters, by challenging the power expressed though language, are also questioning the possibility of experiencing these migrant sites as habitable places. Their refusal to use Standard English clearly proves they know that the spatial limitations are also linguistic barricades. Furthermore, as Smith () aptly points out, by refraining from crossing the linguistic threshold, the viability of experiencing hospitable encounters and the host country’s capacity to open up spaces of hospitality are seriously questioned. A further aim is to explore how the language is used in these two autobiographical novels to establish sociocultural boundaries and activate different social roles or multiple facets of their shattered identities.

In: The Poetics and Politics of Hospitality in U.S. Literature and Culture
In: Short Story Theories
In: Short Story Theories
Insights into Latinx Identity in the Twenty-First Century
In Latinidad at the Crossroad: Insights into Latinx identity in the Twenty-First Century Gerke and González Rodríguez provide flashing glimpses into the ways in which Latinas/os struggle to forge their multiracial and multicultural identities within their own communities and in mainstream U.S. society. This volume encompasses an interdisciplinary perspective on the complex range of latinidades that confronts stereotypical connotations, and simultaneously advocates a more flexible (re)definition that may overcome static collective representations of identity, ethnicity and belonging. Well-positioned in the current political context, the notion of latinidad is examined as a complex sociological phenomenon of identity-construction which is affected by outside influences and is used as a powerful linguistic, cultural and ideological weapon to denounce oppression and deconstruct stereotypes. Including chapters from foundational and influential scholars, this collection moves towards a dynamic exploration of how Latinx are remapping their identity positions in twenty-first century America.

Contributors: Francisco A. Lomelí, José Antonio Gurpegui, Esther Álvarez López, Ylce Irizarry, Luisa María González Rodríguez, Ewa Antoszek, Fernando Aquino.
In: Latinidad at the Crossroads
In: Latinidad at the Crossroads