The Autobiographical “I” in Borderlands

The chicano people are a people who were uncertain of their identity as a people and culture until relatively recently in their history.  The mestizo, or mixture of blood created their race, and it is through examining this history of her people that we see Gloria Anzaldua create her Autobiographical “I” as she tells her story and the story of her people.

Mrs. Anzaldua is a chicana- a woman of both Indian and Spanish heritage who is a Mexican-American.  She lives close to the “border” between the two countries.  She immediately challenges this concept, stating that the sexual, social, and psychological borders are far more important and have more effect on her people.

She creates her own “I” in the mind of the reader by challenging the reader with new information about her people.  She doesn’t dote on her Caucasian readers by keeping the text 100% English.  She doesn’t baby them with familiar stereotypes about the Mexican people.  Instead, she challenges them by retelling the American story of the Alamo as the last stand of some treacherous cowards invading Mestizo soil.  She turns the illegal alien controversy on its head by declaring that Chicanos do not invade the border, the border has invaded them.  She uses historical references to back up her point that California down to Texas was historically a part of Mexico until it was usurped by the Caucasian government of the United States.

She brings a contemporary focus to who she is as a person by discussing the harsh life waiting for immigrants in the US, as well as the economic shackles placed upon her people in Mexico in the form of US owned maquilladoras.  These sweat shops underpay their millions of workers, forcing many of them to illegally cross the US border in an attempt to feed their family.

This essay shatters stereotypes and tells gives us a clearer definition of who the author is, and who her people are.  She uses history as a tool to create her own “Autobiographical I.”

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