Defining Relationships in Mexican Culture

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Defining Relationships in Mexican Culture

This paper will define certain relationships in Mexican culture, taken from a popular belief's perspective. The topics covered will be family, community, religion, and the word Chingar.
Some background facts about Mexico: The place of advanced Amerindian civilizations, Mexico came under Spanish rule for three centuries before achieving independence early in the 19th century. A devaluation of the peso in late 1994 threw Mexico into economic turmoil, triggering the worst recession in over half a century. The nation continues to make an impressive recovery. Ongoing economic and social concerns include low real wages, underemployment for a large segment of the population, inequitable income distribution, and few advancement opportunities for the largely Amerindian population in the hurting southern states. Elections held in July 2000 marked the first time since the 1910 Mexican Revolution that the opposition defeated the party in government, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Vicente FOX of the National Action Party (PAN) was sworn on 1 December, 2000 as the first chief executive elected in free and fair elections. (

Mexican culture is known for the unified nature of the family. In Cisnero's book, Caramelo we see that nothing is more important than the family, "Always remember," Inocencio tells his daughter, "…the family comes first—la familia." (Cisneros, 2002) Children regularly live with their parents until they marry, even if they remain single until their thirties or later. It is also quite common for family units to remain connected, often with grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and children all living in the same area or even in the same house. Of course that is not the case all the time, especially when families have to migrate. Loyalty within the family is absolute – brothers will fight for the honor of their sisters. A lot of times the children or the father of the family have to leave in search of a job. In the story we read in class, The Gift, Jeronimo left to go to Cuernavaca to work there but we see that he returns home, to his parents. Kids show a lot of respect for the parents and it is common for the parents to grow old and die at their children's house. In The Gift we see how Jeronimo shows a lot of respect for both of his parents first of all for bringing the gift to his dad and secondly when on page 197, we read that he kisses both of his parents hands. The roles of the parents in Mexican culture are generally well-defined, with the father acting as the family's ruler and the mother as the family's heart, " he's been up before the rooster earning his living to pay for the food in her belly and the roof over her head…" (Cisneros, 1992).

Machismo is quite common in Mexican families. In the book The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, there is the chapter, Beautiful and Cruel, which depicts a character's personal quite war against machismo. This chapter marks the beginning of Esperanza's, a character in the book, "own quiet war" against machismo. She will not discipline herself nor wait for a husband, and this rebellion is reflected when she is leaving the table- dish and chair untouched- like a man. Esperanza's mission to create her own identity is manifested by her decision to not "lay (her) neck on the threshold waiting for the ball and chain." ( Cisneros, 1984) Also in the chapter, What Sally said, Sally makes excuses for her father, such as "he never hits me hard" or lies and says she fell. "Because I'm a daughter," as opposed to a trustworthy son, Sally returns to her "Daddy" when he comes begging for forgiveness. The horror a neglected woman must repeatedly face is affectively emphasized through simile: "he hit her with his hands just like a dog, she said, like if I was an animal." ( Cisneros, 1984) Irony reveals the bad situation Sally is in: "he just forgot he was her...
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