Latino Literature in America

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There is growing awareness of the tremendous impact Latino writers have had on the recent literary scene, yet not all readers have the background to fully appreciate the merits and meanings of works like House on Mango Street, Line of the Sun, Bless Me Ultima, and In the Time of Butterflies. Offering analysis of their most important, popular, and frequently assigned fictional works, this book surveys the contributions of eight notable Latino writers: Julia Alvarez, Rodolfo Anaya, Sandra Cisneros, Junot Diaz, Christina Garia, Oscar Hijuelos, Ortiz Cofer, and Ernesto Quinonez. Each chapter gives biographical background on the author and clear literary analysis of the selected works, including a concise plot synopsis. Delving into the question of cultural identity, each work is carefully examined not only in terms of its literary components, but also with regard to the cultural background and historical context. This book illuminates such themes as acculturation, generational differences, immigration, assimilation, and exile. Language, religion, and gender issues are explored against the cultural backdrop, along with the social impact of such historical events as Operation Bootstrap in Puerto Rico, the early days of Castro's Cuba, and the Trujillo Dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. Students and teachers will find their reading experiences of U.S. Latino works enriched with the literary and cultural perspectives offered here. A list of additional suggested reading is included.