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Borderlands (1987): is a book by Gloria Anzaldua, and it mainly highlights the plight of the people living along the US-Mexican border. She was born in south Texas that is close to the Mexican border, and she grew up in the ranches. As she grew, gender imbalance was a crucial issue and some things in the society would only be done by men. Anzaldua was intelligent, and she loved reading and as a result, she earned a degree from Pan American University and also masters at University of Texas She worked as a teacher mainly teaching children of people who were I the country as migrant workers. She can relate with the story she wrote in the book because most of it was through her past experience. She uses narratives and poems in the book to show how the lives of different people are changed by the border that separates Mexico and USA (Castañeda 33).
The author applies imagery to show the suffering that the border brought to a snumber of people. The border divides their culture and at the same time fences them in, and they cannot leave. She uses the word Chicana to refer to a woman of both American and Mexican origin. Mestizas refer to both Mexican and Chicana women who have intermarried between the Spanish and Native Americans. According to Anzaldua, the border exists for one reason, which is to protect the Americans by keeping away Mexicans from the country.
She includes a story of some people who lived in Mexico dating back even to the people who first came to what is now America. She highlights the different generations and the changes that took place up to the present. Anzaldua also uses poems to bring out her experiences while living as a Chicana, an activist, and also a lesbian. She cites the existence of a border is just but an ordinary divide between Mexicans and Americans. The US/Mexican border locks out people and limits their freedom of movement through tight security (Randall, Herman, and Sheldon 56).
The border not only acts as a division of two countries, but also affects people living on either side of it, psychologically and sociologically too. The Mexican border is always under tight security with scrutiny being done on whoever passes it, and it has to be with full authorization. Some people of Mexican origin work and line in the US yet they cannot go back to their ancestral land. In the book, Anzaldua switches from English to Spanish in a way to suggest that she has lived both cultures. She speaks for all the Chicanas and Mestizas living in the US and do not know their true identity. Since the Mexicans could not go back to their ancestral land freely, they settled on intermarriages and now most of them do not have a culture. Anzaldua suggests that another main reason why the border exists is to separate the good people from the bad ones, the safe from the dangerous, the Americans from the Mexicans. She also says that when people of color (in this case the Mexicans) cross the border they are shot, gassed or even raped. On the other hand, white people are free to cross the border with supervision from the guards as much as they want. No strict action is taken against the white people, who cross the border illegally without the necessary documents. Anzaldua turns to her lesbian side to show that she was no longer sure of her real identity. She had some white in her, some Mexican, some male characteristics, and female too. This shows that Chicana is growing to become a culture too, but without a distinct identity.
The fact that she uses both Spanish and English shows that literature of the Chicana cannot be expressed in one language (Randall, Herman, and Sheldon 112).
Between any neighboring countries, there exists an area that over the years has been used for interaction between the two nationalities. As a result, intermarriages occur, and they join cultures. The Alsace Lorraine is a borderland that is between Germany and France, who are neighboring nations. Around the borderland, the French and Germans have been interacting for long mostly through trade. The cultures mixed in the process with the rise in intermarriages as is the case in the American/Mexican border. The language used there is a mixture of German and French without any one of them being used in exception. At the moment, France is in control of the Alsace Lorraine, and like most borderlands, tension is created once one nation is in control. This is because it has the ability to be in command of the society of people from the minority country. The intermarriages and discriminations at the borderland can be compared to that of the American/Mexican border, which has similar traits (Randall, Herman, and Sheldon 137).
Borderlands also exist in the Northern Ireland being found between Ireland, and the UK. There is no culture or language too with the UK enjoying more control on the border. It is much easier for Britons to enter Ireland than the vice versa just like in Anzaldua’s case. Following the rise in diplomacy all over the world over the years, most borderlands are no longer seen as battle zones, but multicultural zones all over the world. However, the Russian-Polish borderland, popularly known as Kosovo, has not enjoyed much of inter culture marriages as a result of their constant fighting. This is unlike the case of Anzaldua where most of the acts against humanity are performed to one culture, and mostly by security guards. In Kosovo, no one country has complete dominance of the borderland and hence the constant disagreements and fighting.
Following tension between the people from the two nations living in the land, they do not intermarry much, and people have maintained their cultures. The difference with Alzalduna’s case is in Kosovo, the nationalities living at the borderland are not in good terms, and the land acts at a battle field when they go to war (Buckley 52).
Life at the borderland is challenging and multi cultured in most cases, and with no distinct language. There are intermarriages between people living at the land, leading to erosion of their ancient culture.