Caballero - Barnett Joshua Barnett Jurado ENG 351 23 April...

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Barnett Joshua Barnett Jurado ENG 351 23 April 2007 Caballero? Written in the 1930’s and 40’s by Jovita Gonzalez and Eve Raleigh, pseudonym for Margaret Eimer, Caballero: A Historical Novel is a milestone in Mexican-American literature. Though the title itself means “gentleman” in Spanish, the story focuses on strong women of the era and the vast contradictions found in any single patriarchal ideology. After all, the title Caballero and the phrase “Mexican-American” are contradictions in themselves. The men of Caballero struggle with the outside influence of America as well as the inner turmoil created by their growing up in a machismo society; most of the main male characters end up being anything but gentle. The strokes of the pen used to sign the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2 nd 1848 literally cut the area in half, annexing the land and all of its northern inhabitants to the United States. Those Mexicans became what they dreaded the most, an American, so it is easy to understand the confusion felt by people of the era both men and women alike. Just as Don Gabriel said of the American given name of “Rio Grande,” 1
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“...change of name does not change the river” so in this sense being branded an American contradicted their entire existence (11). Though Gonzalez and Raleigh touch on many inconsistencies it is religion that stands above all. Many of those who might consider themselves religious are the same people who exhibit the strongest sacrilegious characteristics in Caballero . These characters, in particular Don Santiago, contradict themselves by, on one hand, claiming to be a devout man of God, but in reality, and unbeknownst to themselves most of the time, are working perfectly in the devil’s design. It is as if claiming to be a believer exempts one from the punishment of their unspeakable deeds and blasphemous actions. How do such contradictions lend to credibility of the main male characters? Why ask which side God is on and why he would let these things happen as opposed to accepting the American occupation as part of God’s ultimate plan? The Mexicans claim the Americans are savages, but are they? Is everyone? What are the authors trying to say about or convey through use of such contradictions and what historical instances provoke this thinking? Since Caballero
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Caballero - Barnett Joshua Barnett Jurado ENG 351 23 April...

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