LITR 4340 American Immigrant Literature Lecture Notes


Lecture Notes

6th meeting: Other Hispanic Americans: Immigrant / American Dream or Minority?

save Silent Dancing and Poets in Kitchen to flash-drive

 

Midterm1 review

Thanks for adapting to unusual but rational work-schedule

teaching style--no silver bullets that solve everything

professional learns strengths and weaknesses both of self and people he's working for

maximize upsides, minimize downsides

downsides of our testing-research method:

unfamiliar requirements?

finish midterm1, get ready for midterm2; finish midterm2, get ready for final exam

no take-home critical research paper (> Research Report involves research, Essay involves criticism)

upsides:

criterion for judging students with diverse backgrounds: learning (both content and writing)

repeated writing mixed with repeated instruction

chance to correct errors and demonstrate learning in subsequent exams

Since all three exams are similarly structured, student can practice and improve test-taking skills.

test-taking > use the question, keep reviewing questions, return to question's terms and focuses

If you and your students are going to be taking a lot of tests, then learn how to take tests

 

difference in 2016 mt2 essays

Model Assignments Tragedy

Model Assignments Literature of the Future

 

 

Objectives

method of course / Critical Thinking

Obj. 1: classification, categories, groups < us-them

Obj. 2: devices for reconnecting

Obj. 3 common ground

 

 

 

 

 

 

History of New World tied up with sugar

Columbus brought sugarcane to Americas on 2nd voyage

Sugar production in Caribbean at one corner of "Triangular Trade" involving slavery

Market satisfies people's needs and desires, but what people want isn't always good for them or others.

 

 

 

 

 

How do today's stories reflect a position between minorities and immigrants? 

New World immigrants, like Mexican Americans, express more "ambivalence" about whether to give up earlier identity

 

Junot Diaz, "How to Date a Browngirl . . . “ (IA 276-279)

Question for "How to Date a Browngirl" . . .

How does the main character-speaker seem like an immigrant, like a minority, or something in-between?

 

276 that tia (extended family)

276 government cheese (association with "minority handouts" as opposed to "immigrant opportunity")

276 embarrassing photos of your family, half-naked kids, your cousins (strong connections to old world of home country)

277 sounds like a principal or a police chief (minorities often oppose dominant culture authority figures)

277 white ones are the ones you w ant the most (attraction to dominant culture, intermarriage)

+ 278 in truth, you love them more than you love your own

277 out-of-towners, blackgirls who grew up with ballet and Girl Scouts, three cars in driveways (further exploration of in-between identity)

277 if she’s a halfie don’t be surprised if her mother is white (intermarriage!)

277 your busted up Spanish (losing connection to home country, immigrant language)

277 tear gas, mother recognized its smell from the year the United States invaded your island (

278 never lose a fight on the first date

278 Uncle Tomming (selling out?)

278 black people . . . Dominicans (the usual questions about separate identity or assimilating identity)

 

   

Judith Ortiz Cofer, "Silent Dancing" (VA 179-186)

180 Jewish families > PRs [following in footsteps of earlier, model immigrants]

180 extended family x strangers, beehive life

180 fair skin, light brown hair, Northern Spanish background

180 father could have passed as European, but we couldn’t   (dom cult)

181 gradually colored brown . . . our color

181 “typical” immigrant PR décor for time . . . bright colors (cf. 180, shades of gray) (dom cult)

 

different parents have different attitudes toward assimilation

181 mother somewhere between poles of our culture

181 father’s obsession to get out of the barrio

mother yearning for la isla . . . surrounded by her language

182 father “assimilation” painless

182 live away from Barrio—his greatest wish, M’s greatest fear

 

184 “who is she? . . . an aunt? Somebody’s wife?” (extended family)

185 I’m an American woman (assimilation)

185 American boyfriend, name American

 185 tia politica [extended family]

 

What do you do with the abortion discussion at the end?

185 abortions

186 nobody wanted that baby

family values people always blame the govt for abortion and never themselves for not teaching birth control

 

 

 

Oscar Hijuelos, “Visitors, 1965” (IA 310-325) 

1

310 Alejo Santinio

hotel restaurant

newspaper clipping 1961

brief moment of glory

Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev

bewildered . .  . "Only in America . . . "

new technology: mushroom-shaped clouds, satellites

hick from small town in Cuba, slicked up in America

311 where do you come from? Cuba

celebrities for a few weeks

NK + Fidel Castro

fall of Batista 1958--6 years +

Aunt Luisa, daughters, son in law Pedro

freedom flight

312 gone were days of happy-go-lucky Cubans

312 Now Cubans were leaving because of Krushchev's new pal, Fidel Castro

2

312 AS supported Castro in Miami

crooked Batista regime

nostalgic talk

Fidel as hope for future

313 cf. Jesus and John the Baptist, cf. Saint

Castro to NY

principles of freedom

1962, after Bay of Pigs

communists bad people--nothing to eat, no clothes, medicine

313 Your aunts . . . ;

314 Your poor cousin Paco . . . 

everything upside down

everyone in barrio watches you

party, many of them Negroes

send us whatever you can

315 Russians the new masters

Mercedes x-Castro

Senior Lopez, union organizer: declines in illiteracy, prostitution, malnutrition

Old Negro man dying in bed

people who were the good-for-nothings

allowed nothing

omelet break eggs

my family not eggs

go there and see what freedom is like

Cubans hoping for counter-revolution

316 Pedro, Virginia's husband, lost his mechanics shop

doctorate in pedagogy, literacy programs

government waiting list

"You will know your family again."

February 1966

Jose Marti Airport

317 shock wave of apprehension and hope

3

317 Hector: conscious effort to be "Cuban," and yet the very idea of Cubanness inspired fear in him as if he would grow ill from it, as if microbios would be transmitted by the very mention of the word Cuba.

loved notion of Cuba, dream house of Cuba

sick at heart for being so Americanized

Spanish unpracticed

read Flash comic books

street Ricans

Horacio play the patron

318 returned from England a complete European

318 And now the real Cubans . . . were coming to find out what a false life Hector led.

fantasized about Cuba

more of a man, a Cuban man

trip to Cuba 1954

three ships, cf. Columbus

319 you cna't remember anything

Dona Maria . . . never got over leaving Spain for Cuba

always remain a proud Spaniard

You're Spanish first and then Cuban

Cuban milk, most delicious

Don't forget your tia

4

320 female cousins waited humbly

something dreary, in country for 20 years

so much of everything!

walls cracked and dark > TV, radio, etc

"Thank God for freedom and bless my family"

321 work until I have something

strong thing to say

Elvis Presley records (cf. Coca Cola)

dumb when it comes to being a Cuban

322 Hershey syrup and milk

spirits and ghosts, spiritualism in Cuba

Luisa: ignore America and reality of situation

watched Spanish channel, ate, prayed

323 Alejo paid x-Mercedes

desperate to keep Luisa and daughters in apartment

calm and happy as a mouse

head of table

nearly 300 pounds

the son is like the father

to be somewhere else, someone else, a Cuban

324 they did move away

after 20 years he did not make that much

government helped them out

$ > night computer school, Spanish instructors

three-story house + many Cubans, sidewalks clean

worked hard

how easily they established themselves

possessions

move again

They did not allow the old world, the past, to hinder them

x-cry > walk straight ahead

started a business

325 This country's wonderful to new Cubans

what about us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Junot Diaz, "How to Date a Browngirl . . . “ (IA 276-279)

276 that tia

276 government cheese

276 embarrassing photos of your family, half-naked kids, your cousins

276 pictures of yourself with an Afro

277 sounds like a principal or a police chief

277 hair, whiteboys, Africa

277 white ones are the ones you want the most

277 out-of-towners, blackgirls who grew up with ballet and Girl Scouts, three cars in driveways

277 if she’s a halfie don’t be surprised if her mother is white

277 your busted up Spanish

277 tear gas, mother recognized its smell from the year the United States invaded your island

278 never lose a fight on the first date

278 Uncle Tomming

278 black people . . . Dominicans

278 I like Spanish guys

 

 

 

Judith Ortiz Cofer, "Silent Dancing" (VA 179-186)

 179 economic pressures, joined Navy

179 he left the Island first, alone

180 Jewish families > PRs

180 shades of gray [dominant culture] (cf. 181, bright colors)

180 extended family x strangers, beehive life

180 ethnic turnover

180 fair skin, light brown hair, Northern Spanish background

180 father could have passed as European, but we couldn’t

181 gradually colored brown . . . our color

181 “typical” immigrant PR décor for time . . . bright colors (cf. 180, shades of gray)

181 novia, sits up formally

181 la mancha, mark of new immigrant

181 mother somewhere between poles of our culture

181 father’s obsession to get out of the barrio

x-bonds with place or people

mother yearning for la isla . . . surrounded by her language

182 cook only with products whose labels she could read

182 Colgate’ x commercial on TV

182 father “assimilation” painless

Xmas tree

182 our own TV set

182 series showing families, map of Middle America

182 live away from Barrio—his greatest wish, M’s greatest fear

183 dominoes x bridge

183 x-babysitting

183 shopping—cf. sex, exchange

184 saw a grown man cry

184 “who is she? . . . an aunt? Somebody’s wife?”

185 [fictional answers?]

185 la novia, humilde

Pr-style wife x corrupted cousin

x-some primitive island

185 I’m an American woman

185 American boyfriend, name American

 185 prima pregnant

tia politica [extended family]

185 abortions

186 nobody wanted that baby

186 teacher

186 natural bond

186 la gringa