The Development of Chicano Literature
Historical Background Notes:
* 1821: México declares independence from Spain. Its territory includes
California, Texas, Nevada, Nuevo México, UTA, Colorado, Arizona and
* 1821: Anglo settlement in Texas.
* 1836: Texas declares independence.
* 1845: Settlements in Sutter’s Mill Gold mines in California.
Annexation of Texas and California. Mexican-American War.
* 1846: US invasion of Mexico.
* 1848: Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo: Mexico cedes all its northern states
and gets 15 millions dollars. The Rio Grande divides both countries.
Citizenship for the natives.
* 1910-1917: Insurrection against dictator Porfirio Díaz. Mexican
*1943: Zoot Suit Riots. The emergence of the pocho.
* 1945: Bracero Program: Agreements that allows entrance of
temporary farm workers in the United States.
* 1963: Farm workers strike led by César Chávez.
* 1966: Plan Spiritual de Aztlán and foundation of La Raza
* 1969: Brown Berets in Los Angeles.
- Native-born population already present before the
- During the Mexican revolution migrant workers to
labor on railroads, in the fields, steel mills, canning and
food-processing. Working class migration.
19th century border corridos
Chicano ethnic folk literature. Literature of regional life and family
sagas: Rolando Hinojosa, Rudolfo Anaya, Victor Villaseñor,
Chicano urban literature. Literature of modern ‘barrio’ life: J.L.
Rodríguez, Alejandro Morales, John Rechy
The 1960s: The Plan of Aztlan and the Quinto Sol Prize: Poet Alurista,
Anaya, Luis Valdez (El teatro campesino).Aztlan: pre-capitalist, land and
spirit-centered basis for Chicano culture, literature and political
1980s: Chicana Literature. New models for literature.
Juan Bruce-Novoa defines Chicano literature as having a ‘deep structure’
concerning the exile from and the loss of a past world. Importance of
community, land and kinship. This loss evolves from different ruptures:
first comes the conquest, then independence and revolution and at present
American neocolonization. The Us experience emerges from displacement,
chaos, dismemberment and biculturalism, crisis of identity, etc. The
written page is a place of liberation, reconstruction and reaffirmation.
Bruce-Novoa and others appealed to a literature of reconstruction and
positive views of the Chicanos.
Recent efforts revise Chicano identity and Chicano literature as a product
which is part, yet resistant to the mainstream of, US literature. This
literature embarks in a deconstruction of imposed Anglo identities.
1960s and 1970s works were mainly male bildungsroman.
1980s and 1990s: Chicana literature: Feminist literature is multiply
differential and resistant. It went counter not only to the hegemonic
culture but also to the Chicano patriarchal patterns and even the white
feminism. Norma Alarcón, Gloria Anzaldua, Cherríe Moraga.
Contemporary Chicano literature has been influenced by deconstructionism,
feminism, post-marxism and postmodernism. The works go beyond ethnic
concerns towards new modes of understanding and analyzing the present
situation of the Chicanos/as in an urban postmodern space.