Gloria Anzaldua---Borderlands

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Gloria Anzaldua borderlands la frontera and W.E.B Dubois of our spiritual strivings

Gloria Anzaldua borderlands la frontera and W.E.B Dubois of our spiritual strivings

Gloria Anzaldua borderlands la frontera

In Borderlands/La Frontera, Gloria Anzaldua paints a moving portrait of the search for identity in a world that refuses to allow one. The physical borderland between the U.S. and Mexico helps create, but is also secondary to, the psychological

"fence" that a person is put on when they are denied a culture and a place in society. The beautiful language of the text hit its high point for me personally in one poem. "She has this fear that she has no names… that she has many names…that she doesn't know her names." I was deeply moved by the profound beauty and insight of this piece, and shared it with a close friend.

"I think everyone feels that way sometimes," was her reply. True, and more so for people like Anzaldua, who as both a woman and a Chicana, grew up in an atmosphere of oppression and confusion. "It's not a comfortable territory to live in, this place of contradictions," she writes. "Hatred, anger and exploitation are the prominent features of this landscape." It is also a landscape where the question "Who Am I?" is not readily or easily answered.

One similarity is related to the evidences of the culture and traditions. The restrictions placed by cultural institutions, for all their pretensions to protection, aim to suffocate. "The culture and the Church insist that women are

Subservient to males."

This includes obeying without question, keeping silent, and essentially stifling their very beings. According to Michel Foucalt, this power keeps it grip by placing self-policing thoughts in the minds of people: "In order to be exercised, this power had to be give the instrument of permanent, exhaustive, omnipresent surveillance, capable of making all visible, as long as it could itself remain invisible. It had to be like a faceless gaze that transformed the whole social body into a field of perception: thousands of eyes posted everywhere, mobile attentions ever on the alert." The concept behind this is to make it unnecessary for the institutions to arrange the physical disciplinary action; the women are kept in check by their own minds.

However, there are some, like Anzaldua, who recognize this and aim to break free, to let loose the "Shadow-Beast": "It is a part of me that refuses to take orders from outside authorities." Here Anzaldua demonstrates her awareness of the

Hegemonic Discourse. Most of us adhere to authority because we are not aware that authority has to prove it valid; the impositions placed on Anzaldua, all Chicanas, all women, came from a need to control, disguised as the benevolent act of

"Protection": "Culture (read males) professes to protect women. Actually it keeps women in rigidly defined roles." (Anzaldua 39)

One aspect of the oppression of people considered "deviant" that I found telling is the fear involved in that need to separate and control. "The queer are the mirror reflecting the heterosexual tribe's ...
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