Sample Essay

Caminero-Santangelo also presents Juan Bruce-Novoa’s argument who believes that Antonio’s struggles are a consequence of his conflict between “two ways of being Chicano” rather than that of Anglo versus Chicano conflict (Caminero-Santangelo, 116). Despite the arguments that aim to reject the status of the novel as an ethnic one, the Chicano element evident in the novel can not be ignored. Many critics have also focused on the ethnic content present in the novel.

Caminero-Santangelo also presents the views of those critics who insist to draw attention on “bilingualism, code-switching”, “folklore or pagan figures like la Llorona and the golden carp” which are treated as “ethnic markers” (Caminero-Santangelo, 116). In addition, Caminero-Santangelo admits that the novel has elements of “Chicana/o ethnicity” but it is not manipulated openly (Caminero-Santangelo, 117). There are evidences that make the novel a truly Mexican one; for exmaple, the acute importance given to “curanderismo” which is a Hispanic element.

The roots of Antonio’s conflict of identity can be traced from the two different cultures and traditions which he has inherited from his parents. The Catholic tradition of his mother and  the pagan tradition of his father tend to shatter the belief system of Antonio as when he listens to the story of the golden carp his crisis starts to commence. The legend of golden carp “made me shiver”, says Antonio, “because the roots of everything I had ever believed in seemed shaken” (Anaya, 81). Therefore, the conflict found in Antonio’s personality is not between Mexican and American identities.

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