Borderlands/ La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua

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Break Away

Cultures are the roots that allow a person to remain grounded and stable, providing a group identity while allowing them to flower into an individual. But what happens when mixtures of opposing cultures come in conflict with imposing societal standards? What form will the culture take? In her book Borderlands/ La Frontera, Gloria Anzaldua uses poetic prose to relate her many years of anger from trying to integrate the clashing morals of her Mexican, American, and Indian cultures. Anzaldua ultimately concludes that for people caught in this clash, decolonization from both Mexican and American society, in order to create a new “borderland” culture, it is a productive and positive step toward psychological health.

Before Anzaldua can give her solutions to the problems borderland people face, she must clearly demonstrate these people’s frustrations. Anzaldua grabs the attention of her Mexican-American readers through their natural ability to relate to her argument, while she catches readers of different ethnicities by switching back and forth between Spanish and English, creating the same type of frustration that borderland natives experience daily. In the last paragraph of Chapter Four, “Movimientos de rebelidad y las culturas que traicionan” Anzaldua depicts how "colored women" through the years have been treated unfairly by their own people as well as foreigners. At the end of the paragraph she switches to Spanish to say, “Aqua en la soledad prospera su rebeldia. En la soledad Ella prospera” (45). (Translation: “Here in the loneness, she thrives in her rebelliousness. In the loneness, she thrives”). I have a small Spanish-language background, but in my experience reading Borderlands/ La Frontera, it was frustrating to need to refer to a Spanish-English dictionary. Yet through my frustration I was able to finally identify with the barriers that borderland people face. Through creating a language barrier in her writing, Anzaldua ultimately...
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