The Unspoken Laws: The Construction of Sexual, Religious, and Gendered Borders in Arturo Islas's The Rain God

Topics: Gender role, Gender, God Pages: 3 (1137 words) Published: January 31, 2013
The Unspoken Laws: The Construction of Sexual, Religious, and Gendered Borders in Arturo Islas's The Rain God: A Desert Tale
The conceptualization of sexual, religious, and gendered borders has served to write the human standard of living and the societal roles that we have incorporated into our culture to accept as the social norm. These unspoken laws are the architecture to our socio-cultural environment. These laws represent the cement that has carefully bonded the male-female heteronormative gender role, the pre-inclined human morality given by religion, and sexual identity to be something that is easily definable by the masses. Arturo Islas in The Rain God defines Mexican culture by creating characters that exemplify and embody the stereotypes and the figurative borders of sexuality, religion, and gender.

Throughout The Rain God Arturo Islas tells the story of the Angel family- a family made up of strong characters such as Miguel Grande and Mama Chona. Both Miguel Grande and Mama Chona strongly embody the female-male gender role while personifying the cultural borders that Miguel Chico encounters as he develops into an adult. Miguel Grande illustrates machismo as he is described as the traditional patriarch of the Angel Family. Mama Chona takes on the matriarch role that holds the Angel Family together all the while as she is conflicted to accept the Indigenous and Chicano identities that make her whole. Maria- the nursemaid is a symbol for the religious freedom Miguel Chico grows up searching for. She herself strays off Roman Catholicism and becomes a Seventh Day Adventist. Maria’s influences of another form of thinking impacts Miguel Chico as he furthers into interpreting the reality encircling his childhood.

Arturo Islas carefully constructs the matriarch role in Hispanic culture as Mama Chona. Her character is a clear example of the generational struggle faced by Mother Chonas alike of other Mexican Families living in the Southwest Texas/...
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