Essays On Mexican Cultures

Chicanos can be native-born citizens or Mexican-born immigrants who have adapted to life in the United States.For me, Chicano and Mexican American are interchangeable, although some scholars would argue, not without justification, that the terms are distinct, the former connoting a certain degree of cultural awareness and political activism about which the latter is relatively neutral.The literary culture of the Spanish-speaking Southwest developed spasmodically in a harsh frontier environment marked by episodes of intense cultural conflict, first largely with native Americans and later with Anglo-Americans.

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Traditional Spanish plays were sometimes adapted to the particular circumstances of the Southwest.

In New Mexico, The Moors and the Christians, which featured an abduction of the Christ Child by the Spaniards' mortal enemies, metamorphosed into Los Comanches, in which the kidnappers were pagan Indians.

But the cultural forces that gave rise to Chicano literature date from the late sixteenth century when the Spanish conquistadores began their exploration and colonization of what is now the southwestern United States.

The Spaniards were remarkably courageous, audacious, and, inevitably, brutal, as the narratives of Cabeza de Vaca, de Niza and Castañeda excerpted in The Heath Anthology amply demonstrate; and they planted their institutions, particularly language and religion, throughout this vast region.

Coming to America during Spain's Golden Age, the era of Cervantes, Lope de Vega and Góngora, the conquistadores were avid story tellers and makers, depositing legends, tales, and songs along the paths of conquest.

In 1598, Juan de Oñate and a group of 500 colonists celebrated their settlement of New Mexico with a dramatic presentation composed for the occasion.

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