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Anzaldua Reading Response

Updated on April 10, 2012

As a species, we are all searching for something. As infants, it is sustenance, attention, attachment. As children, it is connection, love, entertainment. Teenagers seek identity, sense of self, and validation. As adults, we seek all these and more, subverted within ourselves as a pursuit of success, and gratification. At the heart of our existence is the search for identity, reinforced both within and without, by our actions. We seek connection to the world, and the world’s connection to us. Who we are, where we’re going, where we’re from, what we want, all these questions are our guidelines, are attempts to discern what is the path we are supposed to take.

Some follow the path of creativity, a path with many branches by which we may see the world. Through visual art, fiction, photography, theatre, and cinema, those at the heart of these professions, offer us a lens through which we make look at the world. We may revisit wars long ended, history untold, futures unseen, voices forever silenced before their time, stories unwritten, and memories that no longer passed from one generation to the next. For stories reflect not only the teller, but the people and land a bard once came from. For history wasn’t always preserved on paper, and tales of ages long faded were passed by word of mouth.

Art is a gateway, unrestricted in scope and detail as to its focus, or its view. Anzaldua speaks of Yolanda Lopez’s Portrait of the Artist as the Virgin of Guadalupe, and the three mothers, symbols of her culture, and the reimagining of the their representations in the world, in order to free them of previous outside influence, who usurped them in order to control and weaken the culture to which they belonged. As the artist portrays herself as a spiritual leader, she reignites a long carried dream, to free her people of the oppression of the past, and elevate her culture to a place of equality among others.

Anzaldua’s alternation between English and Spanish might seem random and incoherent, but that is not so. It is an illustration of the blending of pieces of herself, how she is able to flow in and out of different aspects of her identity flawlessly, to present her composite personality in its totality, but still acknowledging the fact that she is still on her path, not having completed her journey, but enjoying it all same.

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