The Squatter And The Don Analysis Essay

Since the recent republication of her novel The Squatter and the Don, María Amparo Ruiz de Burton (1832–95) has become a key figure in the recovery of nineteenth-century Mexican American literature. An aristocratic Californiana, she championed the rights of Mexican Americans in novels, plays, and letters. Her 1885 novel called attention to the illegal appropriation of Mexican land by the United States government, and she critiqued the political mores of America after the Civil War in light of the Mexican-American war. Her keen assessment of corporate capitalism at the end of the nineteenth century, frank acknowledgment of feminine desire, and deft insights about economic realities and class relations were unique among her American peers.

Using Ruiz de Burton’s work to analyze the critical schism conventionally imposed on nineteenth-century literary culture in America, the essays in this collection also draw connections between her work and the contemporary Chicana and Chicano canons. At once richly historical and critically nuanced, these essays appraise a politically complex Mexican American writer alternately celebrated as marginalized and censured for her identification with a social elite. This volume includes a section on pedagogy that offers a discussion of teaching approaches, syllabi, discussion questions, and assignments.

Milan Tomic
Latin American Lit
Professor Owens
22 Oct 2014

Essay #1

It is interesting to see the development of an identity for Latin American Literature as we read stories that truly start from the beginning of the settling of the Americas.   Two stories that stand out to me are "An Old Women Remembers" and "The Squatter And The Don" in which they share a common theme of pride and empowerment of women, something rarely seen from writings in this era.
Based on what we know of the times when both pieces were written, it is safe to say that the role expected of women is that of housekeeper, cook, and bearer of children.   This notion at the time was probably the general consensus of about ninety nine percent of the male population, yet in both stories we see female characters with a very strong sense of pride and identity of their own.
On the surface of Eulalia Perez's memoire "An Old Women Remembers" one would think that she is simply a women who fits the mold of the roles of women during that time. Yet we see time and time again that she has a strong sense of pride, regardless of what task she does, that she will be the best at the task at hand.   This sense in pride is demonstrated when she's given the task of teaching two Native Americans to cook and she states " I taught them so well that I had the satisfaction of seeing them turn out to be very good cooks, perhaps the best in all this part of the country" (75).   Perez makes it a point to make sure the reader understands that though she was just a cook, she was the best cook, and all those under her became the best too.
We see Perez progress through the story constantly earning more responsibilities and higher positions in her social structure due to her always being the best at what she does. Numerous times in the story, whenever she is given a new responsibility or other duties, she makes sure to let it be known that it was difficult and important, and that she executed them perfectly. She...

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