05.03.11

Blog #30: Christopher Unborn

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:36 am by sjang103

‘A coyote is just as capable of attacking the oppressed as is the oppressor. Give them music, not beatings.’ He tells the people hidden behind the mountains where no one can ever see them, give them food, stop them from being afraid of you…then take them down to the town so they won’t be afraid of cars…one day let one go into a hotel lobby and see what happens…Desperate, I cling to my mother’s oviduct. (Fuentes 46)

It’s so interesting to see a coyote, a wild creature, used as an example due to the idea that it can be tamed. In this passage, Fuentes explores the idea of colonizer vs colonized, tame vs untamed, and nature vs mankind in a creative way. The coyote also symbolizes a culture. That if it is perhaps known to the people or the colonizer, it will suffer. It is a unique form culture takes. And what’s interesting is that the coyote is also known for chewing its own foot off if it were to ever get caught in an unpleasant situation and it was stuck. In a sense, Fuentes suggest that a culture loses its values and traditions if it were to be caught in the undertow of another culture.

Blog #29: Christopher Unborn

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:14 am by sjang103

I searched for a nation identical to itself. I searched for a nation built to last. My heart filled with an intimate, reactionary joy: as intimate as the joy felt by millions of Mexicans who wanted to conserve at least the borders of their poor country: conservatives. I said I learned to love true conservatives. Bishop Vasco de Quiroga, who constructed a utopia in the Michoacan in 1535 so that the Indians could conserve their lives and traditions and not die of despair. (Fuentes 117)

What does it mean for a nation to be identical to itself? Does it mean that the culture reflects the nation? I believe Fuentes is addressing the idea of a nation who has lost itself or who has derived from other nation’s cultures to create itself is not a true nation. That a nation that searches and seeks to maintain its original ways is a true nation, perhaps. To conserve and preserve their nations and their traditions.

Blog #28: Christopher Unborn

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:02 am by sjang103

It’s more important to note the opposing forces within them: what I am and what I want to be; what I have and what I want to have. I, so solitary in the solar center of my narrative, I understand well what I’m telling you, Gentile Readers. (Fuentes 96)

There is an allusion to the Bible here. It’s is interesting to see how Fuentes regards his readers as “Gentile Readers” because biblically, the Gentiles were technically not the chosen people of God, but the Jews. However, due to the unfaithfulness and stubbornness of the Jews, God chose the Gentiles to show His love. God’s invitation is still open for the Jews, it’s just a matter of accepting God’s word. In regards to this biblical reference, I wondered if we were not meant to be the chosen readers and whether Fuentes is stating he is yet, offering his work to others. But I also questioned whether Fuentes considered himself “one-of-us” in saying that we’re all in this together.

05.02.11

Blog #27: Christopher Unborn

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:59 am by sjang103

What makes you think I won’t read the whole Cratylus, Which is a book about names: Angel, Angeles, Christopher: Are they the names that really belong to us (my love, my man, my name, my son)? Or are the names ourselves, are we the names? Do we name or are we named? Are our names a pure convention? Did the gods give us our names, but by saying them (our own and the others) do we wear them out and pervert them? When we name ourselves, do we burn ourselves? (Fuentes 51-52)

When I think about a person’s name, sometimes, it is that very name that makes them memorable. I also think of names as a form of our identities as well as a form of acknowledgement. This passage is a wonderful exploration of names and their significances and I find myself questioning along with these questions. If our names were to be the declaration of our identities, them I would say that it is a question of the environment and the conditions to which our identities were formed. And it also asks a question, are our identities borrowed?

Blog #26: Christopher Unborn

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:59 am by sjang103

Moved by this scientific and humanitarian concern, which distanced them so greatly from my mother Isabella’s family, they proceeded to invent a mousetrap for the poor in which the own would put, instead of a piece of real cheese, the photograph of a piece of cheese…The trap had worked. The photograph of the cheese had disappeared. But in its place my grandparents found the photo of a mouse (Fuentes 55-56)

This is hysterical. I loved how in this story the author addresses this line between science and reality. There is almost a fraud-like essence to this but technically, you are what you eat! The irony and the play on ideology here is wonderful. There is a lot of weaving between what man can achieve and the results of those experiments. But it also blurs the line between what is true and false and Fuentes explores this idea. If a government gives their people false ideas and propagandas, the government manufactures lies and in return, their people live their lives swimming in lies. Truth becomes a blurred statement and Fuentes explores it wonderfully and creatively here.

Blog #25: Christopher Unborn

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:57 am by sjang103

Then let me show you how to survive by using jokes, humor is better than crime, right? You (we) have the right to laugh, orphan boy, all of you have at least that right, the right to a giggle, even if your laughter is mortal: wear out your power in the joke and perhaps you will find your vocation there; I’m not going to force you, who knows what kind of mind all the kids like you develop in the hells of this world? (Fuentes 85)

This passage reminded me of Victoria Hyun’s Response 3 on laughter; using laughter to “chip away” at the seriousness of high and low culture. This passage also reminded me strongly of Bugs Bunny and the cakewalk. Each were originally a “joke” or a tale created to tell of the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized. For example, in cultural folklores there is a tale of the bunny or the rabbit who always outwits the hunter using it’s tricks. And in the cakewalk, it was originally the colonized people making fun of the way the colonizers walked. What strikes me the most is that it was done right under the colonizer’s noses and it provoked laughter. It was the way the colonized freed themselves and through laughter and embracing of their own culture, they rebelled.

Blog #24: Christopher Unborn

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:56 am by sjang103

Uncle Homero is offering the poor Orphan something more than five cents, he is awarding him a verbal mother and father, he is offering him education, without which (Don Homero says to the Huerta boy) there is neither progress nor happiness but only stagnation, barbarism, and disgrace. (Fuentes 78)

This is the scene where the little orphan boy approaches, selling “oranges, pears, an figs” and Uncle Homero corrects him (Fuentes 78). I loved how language offered a sense of a bond between the two as Fuentes stated that Homero was “awarding him a verbal mother and father” (78). Language serves as a key point in relationships and in a people. I think of all the dialects out there and how one can instantly be connected through language. This reminds me of a cultural thing among Koreans (or perhaps it’s my own imagination) but I have observed that when a Korean is among strangers and different cultures, and that Korean happens to stumble upon another Korean, they connect instantly through association of having a similar language. I know that if this Korean person received help from a different person, it would be appreciated but something about receiving help from a fellow Korean makes it more “comfortable.”
I also wanted to quickly note the shift of the written language in the names of the characters, as after follows a statement of no progress. I thought this in terms of the dream U.S.A. offered and the reality behind the dream.

Blog #23: Christopher Unborn

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:56 am by sjang103

The reason in the dream and not only the dream of reason: men and women devoured and devouring, chronophagous, heliophagous, cannibals eating their own fatherland. This is what Isabella and Diego, my grandparents, wanted to overcome. But now their son, my father, had lost the house of intelligence. (Fuentes 64)

Chrono = time, phagous = feeding, helio = sun. Time-feeding and sun-feeding. What a fascinating way to describe cannibals of their own fatherland. These words interested me the most in this passage and I wanted to explore it. I found that both time and sun correlate to each other in that one can tell time through the position of the sun in the sky. And that the sun is also considered a god in certain cultures. But what did Fuentes mean when he said that people were cannibals of their fatherland? I found that it addressed exploitation of resources and an abusing of the land. Fuentes has a lot of wonderful passages that really makes one think and reflect back unto one’s culture and values.

Blog #22: Christopher Unborn

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:52 am by sjang103

…they brought her by Mercedes to a new house surrounded by walls in the Pedregal district, a house for forgetting, she told herself, because she recognized nothing there, wanted nothing there, and everything she touched she forgot: white walls, built-in furniture, white just like the walls, as if they’d put her inside an egg, a house made for white forgetting…(Fuentes 30)

The same “Mother of All Mexicans” seems to have a certain theme that floats around her — forgetting. I’m not sure what it means but I believe it alludes to her identity, her past, and her voice. And it is interesting to see that in the chapter she is introduced, the chapter is titled, “Mother and Doctor of All Mexicans.” I do not know the Mexican history, but I do know this is significant and it states something. And it was also interesting to see how everything she touched was white and it symbolized forgetting. White the color of purity, virginity, peace, and hope. There is a lot of undercurrents in this story.

Blog #21: Christopher Unborn

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:45 am by sjang103

The present was too strong, it washed away her memory and left her abandoned on the isle of the present moment, as if her present could be her salvation and not, as her soul warned her, her prison. She even came to think that memory was her worst enemy, the shark in a blind and opulent wave that kept her on its crest but without ever moving her, fixed her forever in the terror of the past. (Fuentes 25-26)

I loved this passage on the present vs the past. There is a lot of reflection here on how focusing on the present too much somehow erases the past. I thought this in regards to colonialism as well as oral traditions. By moving forward without looking back at history of one’s people, we will forget the paths taken to get to where we are now. We will forget what our people fought for and we will forget our customs and traditions and become a big melting pot as to a firepot, where one can taste the different spices and flavors (I forget which poem I read this from). I liked how in the passage, the speaker, “Mother of All Mexicans” desires to look back and desires to embrace her history. Yet the irony and sadness of it was that she was stuck in the present forgetting, while her past became a thing of terror and of an enemy.

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