For Wednesday, read “The Vine Leaf” by María Cristina Mena. Read it alongside the classic American Gothic short story, Nathaniel Hawthorn’s “The Birth-mark.” Write about it in the comments section below (before 11:59 on Tuesday). Try and respond to each other.
Consider the following: What connections can you draw between the two stories? What is the mood of Mena’s work? Do you think Mena had read Hawthorne’s story? How do the two speak to each other? What Gothic elements do you see in Mena’s story?
Don’t forget to Tweet.
Also, make sure you have a copy of Calligraphy of the Witch by Alicia Gaspar de Alba. The LMU bookstore is getting their shipment of the books in on Monday (they’re open, even though it’s a holiday). For Friday, January 24, read to the end of Book 1 of Calligraphy and through to the end of the book by Monday, January 27. Be sure you have a copy, digital or paper, to bring to class.
(Image credit: Genders Online Journal)
Using crowd sourcing, we’re going to develop a working definition of Gothic. In the comments below, I want you a paragraph giving something of a definition / impression or sense of what Gothic means. Use the ‘net and any other books you may want. Cite your sources by putting in links and MLA citations. Sound fun? Hope so. Here’s the catch. Each webpage can only be cited once. So if someone has already put up a link, you need to find a new one. Look at each other’s links and make comments if the spirit moves you. Please make sure you finish putting your links up (you can keep on reading and commenting of course) by 11:59 Thursday, January 16th so we can pull them all together for class on Friday.
Example: The classic definition of Gothic fiction is literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. That’s what I remember most from literature courses. Yet “romance” itself is a style that can take many forms. When I think of Gothic literature I think of British classics like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I found this definition interesting: “Gothic is a genre that is at once cohesive and divisive, a unification of elements and a paradox. It incorporates themes of eternal conflict and importance to the human condition – relationships, gender, patriarchy, nostalgia, and the sublime. Most importantly, it looks away from the present to the past and from what is obvious and scientific towards an inner world that is at once liberating and imprisoning, and forces the reader to engage it on its own terms, and not those of social and cultural conditioning. It defies categorization and explanation!”
Citation: http://melissaelmes.blogspot.com/2007/07/what-is-gothic-literature.html Melle. “What is Gothic Literature.” Gothic Literature. 2007. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.
(Image credit: Imgion.com)
Using crowd sourcing, we’re going to develop a working definition of Chicana/o. In the comments below, I want you a paragraph giving something of a definition / impression or sense of what Chicana/o means. Use the ‘net and any other books you may want. Cite your sources by putting in links and MLA citations. Sound fun? Hope so. Here’s the catch. Each webpage can only be cited once. So if someone has already put up a link, you need to find a new one. Look at each other’s links and make comments if the spirit moves you. Please make sure you finish putting your links up (you can keep on reading and commenting of course) by 11:59 Thursday, January 16th so we can pull them all together for class on Friday.
Example: Actor Cheech Marin starts out his essay titled “What is a Chicano” with the phrase “Who the hell knows?” He then goes on to say to be a Chicano you have to declare yourself a Chicano — which I take to mean that he sees being a Chicano as a choice. He goes on to specifically say: “That makes a Chicano a Mexican-American with a defiant political attitude that centers on his or her right to self-definition. I’m a Chicano because I say I am.” I think he’s right, but I also use “Chicana/o” to refer to Mexican Americans generally. So I’m still left wondering, what is a Chicana/o?
Marin, Cheech. “What Is a Chicano.” The Blog. The Huffington Post. 2012. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.
(Image Credit: from Chicanos: A History.)
By Tuesday at 11:59 PM:
Open a Twitter account and post it under the comments. Follow the other people in the class. Also, follow me: http://www.twitter.com/anneperez Make a Tweet introducing yourself. NOTE: Introducing yourself is more than just putting up the hashtag #CHST332.
Read: Why Tweet? (And How To Do It) by Anne Trubek.
This course is an exploration of the existence of a Chicana/o gothic.
Gothic literature conveys a sense of uncertainty and suspense through bizarre twists, violence, and moral ambivalence. Monsters, madness and abjection are used as a means to “normalize” or discuss the abnormal, the unspeakable. Looking at Chicano/a texts, some recent, some canonical, can we see these techniques being used to explore the social, political, and racial issues of the Chicano/a communities of the United States?
Are Chicana/o novels and poems using elements of the horrific, the violent, the unorthodox, and/or the supernatural to guide the reader through the story’s action and explore anxieties about the instability of identity and nation? How does thinking about the gothic elements of Chicano/a literature shed new light on their historical experiences and representation? Drawing from constructions of the Southern Gothic and magical realism, what we may come to call “Chicano/a Gothic” is an attempt to discuss, position and define a U.S. Chicano/a literature as a sub-genre of American gothic fiction.