Heart of the Aztlan

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Heart of the Aztlan

In the novel Heart of the Aztlan written by Rodolfo Anaya I found many interesting comments or cultural beliefs that I could relate to. I found this book to be easy reading there weren't many difficult vocabulary words to stumble over and it was interesting to read because of the words that were thrown in the story that were written in Spanish. Coming from a Chicano background, I was able to relate to some of the characters and what they were going through. This book is an eye opener and allows you to see how Chicanos before you suffered and treated poorly and expected to be of lower class due to their race. They weren't expected to get a high education and get good jobs, they were to do hard labor work and barely get by. In this story there are many themes such as family values, religion, gender roles, expectations, language, and cultural customs. It also explains what the family experiences when they move from their small village to a large city. The story starts off with the Chavez family living in a small town called Guadalupe and they end up moving to a city named Albuquerque to make a better life a fresh start. The Chavez family move when Benjamin is fourteen years of age. The main characters in the story are the members of the Chavez family: Clemente (father), Adelita (mother), Roberto (eldest son), Juanita (high school graduate), Ana (High school drop out), Jason, and Benjamin (known as Benjie). In this story there are a couple of other significant characters, one of those being Willie, a friend of Jason, and Jason's girlfriend Christina. In this story it shows how with the Latino culture it is extremely male (macho) dominant and shows a great deal of gender roles. In the story of Heart of Aztlan Clemente Chavez has a hard time adjusting to his new environment. In the city his daughters begin to work and they give their mother Adelita money to help out their parents because it is hard for just Clemente to support his entire family by himself with his wages from the railroad and he ends up losing his job. By the girls giving their money to their mother they wanted to come and go as they pleased. Clemente doesn't agree to this and he wants his daughters to ask for permission like they did when they lived in Guadalupe. Clemente is use to being the Rooster of the household and when his children ask his wife for permission he sees and feels that he is losing control of his own household. When Clemente looses his job he begins to drink as a result of his pride and is bothered by the fact that things haven't changed since they moved, the entire family doesn't sit together for supper, his children don't ask him permission to do anything, his family is growing to be independent. When the Chavez family moved to Albuquerque the children changed with or to accommodate their new society. One example would be Juanita not wanting to be called by the name her parents had given her at birth. Now she wants to be known as Jan, which didn't go over well with her father Clemente considering he was a very traditional man and after all the name Juanita was the name of Clemente's mother. In the story it also shows some of the religious and family values that Latinos have. They are of a Catholic religious background. It shows this in the story by talking about going to confession and by Roberto baptizing his son when he was born. Another religious and cultural belief is the women are expected to get married being virgins yet men don't have the same expectation. If a woman doesn't follow these traditional rules then she considered a whore while a man on the other hand wouldn't be considered that at all. If the family found out that their daughter had sex before marriage they would be ashamed and possibly ban her from the family. Family values are another major topic in this story, in all Latino cultures family is a big aspect of life. Family is expected to remain...
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