Famous All Over Town By Danny Santiago

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Famous All Over Town by Danny Santiago

Thesis Statement

“Famous All over Town” genuine document that reflects James's personal political oppression.


In the novel Famous All Over Town, Danny Santiago writes about the barrio in East Los Angeles, a whole world away from the experience of most of the residents of the city. The author details the life of this subculture, how it has developed as a reflection of the culture of Mexico and how the original culture is challenged and altered in the American context. The life of the barrio is presented here as difficult and even dangerous, producing generation after generation of angry and defiant youth who strike back at all of society for the world into which they have been born. One of the themes in this novel related to the production of these angry young people is parenting and the way young people come to see their parents in a new light as they (the children) grow up and measure their reality against the ideal they have been taught and against the image projected by the larger white society in which they find themselves, an image that is itself distorted and false.


The novel Famous All over Town used to be a highly regarded contribution to Chicano literature. The poignancy and realism of the coming-of-age story were heightened because it was told in the first person and by someone who had personally experienced life on the increasingly mean streets of East Los Angeles. Moreover, the author's own success served as a beacon for Hispanic youth looking for positive role models: Danny Santiago had overcome adversity, had risen from the ghetto of ethnicity and written a bestseller. If he could do it, so could they. Teachers and librarians added Famous All Over Town to lists of required and recommended reading for those seeking authentic documents of the minority experience (Danny Santiago, pp 121-288).

The problem of how to respond to Famous All Over Town now that it can no longer be taken as a straightforward document of the Hispanic experience has become enmeshed with two ongoing controversies. Both are concerned with authenticity. One attempts to salvage works such as James's under the rubric of "literatura chicanesca," that is, as "a body of literature written about the Chicano/a experience by a non-Chicana/o writer. Even though they lack the key credential of membership in the other community, writers familiar with and ...
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