Three major concepts that Gloria Anzaldúa outlines in Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza are employed in order to determine the extent to which Clemencia, in Cisneros's short story, challenges traditional borderland gender ideology. Clemencia's alienation, which is caused by her relationships with her parents as well as through her liaison with Drew and her preoccupation with his wife, Megan, is reflective of Anzaldúa's assertion regarding the alienation of borderland Chicanas. That the psychologically conflicted Clemencia is unable to fully reconcile her identity dilemmas testifies to the deeply ingrained psychological and powerful social realities that Mexicanas since at least the time of Malinalli have had to endure in a male-dominated culture. Much as Clemencia's writing efforts suggest the possibility of her subsequent transformation, she has not yet been able to attain the New Mestiza identity that Anzaldúa advocates. “Never Marry a Mexican” constitutes Cisneros's dramatic attempt to present a tragic story of a young woman's desperate yet unsuccessful effort to forge an authentic identity in a culture that is resilient to change.
Understanding Sandra Cisneros's “Never Marry a Mexican” through the Lens of Gloria Anzaldúa's Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
DENNIS B. LEDDEN, former Assistant Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, has published essays on twentieth-century American authors, including Laura Esquivel and Ernest Hemingway. He has presented papers at numerous literary conferences, including those sponsored by The International Ernest Hemingway Society, The Society for the Study of the American Short Story, The Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, The Nathaniel Hawthorne Society, and the American Literature Association. His essay on the film adaptation of Hemingway's The Garden of Eden has been publied recently in Quarterly Review of Film and Video and his essay on Pauline Pfeiffer's Safari Journal appeared in The Hemingway Review. Professor Ledden is completing a two-part book length study entitled Hemingway and the Wounds of Love: Romance and Masculinity in the Early and Later Fiction. His poetry and prose have appeared in a number of literary publications. He won a 2017 Gulf Coast Writers Association award and has won the 2019 University of Pittsburgh flash nonfiction competition. Currently, he is editing his new chapbook, Bayonet Love: Poems from the Vietnam War Era.
Dennis B. Ledden; Understanding Sandra Cisneros's “Never Marry a Mexican” through the Lens of Gloria Anzaldúa's Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. Studies in the American Short Story 1 April 2020; 1 (1): 53–70. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/studamershorstor.1.1.0053
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