The Life and Works of Rudolfo A. Anaya
Rudolfo A. Anaya, a New Mexican writer, is considered one of the creators of Chicano Literature. He is most known for his novel Bless Me, Ultima. He has been recognized with many prestigious rewards for his work. As Anaya says, “As a Chicano writer I am part of a community which for the first time in our contemporary era has produced enough literary works to create a literary movement. Prior to the 1960s western literature was written about us, but seldom by us. Now the world has a truer insight into our world; the view is now from within as more and more Chicano and Chicana writers explore their reality" (Rudolfo A(lfonso) Anaya Biography 1). Anaya was born on October 30, 1927 in the small village of Pastura, New Mexico (Anaya 363, Contemporary Hispanic Biography 1). He was born to Martin and Rafaelita Anaya. Anaya was the fifth of seven children. His father came from a family of cattle workers and sheepherders, was a vaquero, a horseman who worked on ranches surrounding Pastura, and his mother came from a family of poor farmers (Contemporary Hispanic Biography 1). At a young age, his family moved to Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Their house was perched over the Pecos River, and young Anaya spent his childhood roaming around the planes with his friends, hunting, and fishing in the Pecos River. He was raised in a strong Catholic household, he stated, “In my child hood world the power of prayer was supreme” (Anaya 362). Also, Anaya grew up in a Spanish speaking only house hold. He stated that his parents only mostly spoke Spanish and that at the age of six or seven when he started school he knew very little to no English (Anaya 362-365). "My parents spoke only Spanish. My dad worked for big ranchers and he could buy and sell cattle, which meant he could get along in English. But at home it was a complete Spanish-speaking household. By the time I went to school when I was six or seven, I didn't know English, I only knew Spanish” (Stone). At the age of fifteen Anaya moved to Albuquerque, and he attended Albuquerque High School. In Albuquerque Anaya was exposed to prejudice against Latinos as well as some cultural and ethnic differences he had not previously faced. Anaya played football and baseball in Albuquerque. He managed to avoid the trouble of gangs, and he kept good grades. (Anaya 364-366, Contemporary Hispanic Biography). At the age of sixteen Anaya suffered a diving accident. Diving into an irrigation ditch, Anaya broke two vertebrae; he nearly killed himself. Anaya said in his short auto biography, "The doctors would later explain that I had fractured two vertebrae in my neck, and I had gone into instant paralysis. I could not move a muscle” (Anaya 369). His mother nursed him through his paralysis with daily massaging the stiff limbs, and his friends never wavered. He swam, exercised, and slowly began to reenter the rough and tumble life. He mentions that one of the first things that he did was return to the YMCA pool alone. As a way to conquer his fear he dove into the water alone (Anaya 369-372). In 1956, Anaya graduated from Albuquerque High School. Anaya then attended business school for two years before dropping out and enrolling in the university. University life sent Anaya into an identity crisis. He speaks of losing his faith in god. Anaya found that the culture at the university was not his own; also, Anaya found that his classes were devoid of relevance to his own culture. On top of all this a recently failed relationship with a girl pushed Anaya to begin writing to help his pain. However, much of these early writings were later destroyed. Anaya thanks his friends for helping him survive the university. On weekends he would get with his friends and go out drinking, playing pool, and meeting girls. Anaya received a degree and soon after accepted a teaching position in a small town in New Mexico. (Anaya 373-375). In this small town he still continued to practice his writing...
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