casey's heroes and saints essay

casey's heroes and saints essay - Casey Minella October...

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Casey Minella October 26 th , 2010 Catherine Burroughs English 1111.109 – “Bodies, Households, and Nations: Six Plays” Cerezita the Hero and Saint: Meeting Activism Head On “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land. Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted . . . . . Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God” The Beatitudes; Gospel of St. Matthew (5:3-8) In Cherrie Moraga’s Heroes and Saints , there is a lack of free speech in the town of San Joaquin Valley. The valley is surrounded by an endless expansion of grape vineyards, pecan tree orchards, and agricultural life. According to Moraga, written in the setting , the soil surrounding the Valley dwellers “should not be confused with land. What was once land has become dirt, overworked dirt, over irrigated dirt, injected with deadly doses of chemicals and violated by every manner of ground – and back-breaking machinery” (Moraga 91). However, she goes on to say that the community does not regard Madre Tierra as their enemy. Rather they remember the way the land used to be and cling to this memory filled with hope. The people of San Joaquin Valley are in need of a hero, a person to take action and fight against the poisoning of their land, water, and people with harmful pesticides, and a saint, a person to stand for their cause. Cerezita is this hero and saint. Moraga’s Heroes and Saints focuses on the journey of Cerezita, an intelligent girl with no body, acting as the voice of her people. This paper traces the rhetoric of the sensuous body from Cerezita’s sensuous tone to the actual mentioning of the word “body.” I have discovered that the play repeatedly contains the word “body,” which appears at least 21 times throughout the play, and rhetoric of body, which includes the references to the hair, mouth, and tongue. How does Cerezita’s sensuous language
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function to address the problem of poison and contribute to activism? Through her rhetoric of the sensuous body, Moraga shows that despite her condition, Cerezita has a strong sense of body and is the voice of her people, demonstrating qualities of both heroism and sainthood. Moraga uses the word “body,” with its implications of religious and spiritual factors, to strengthen the idea of Cerezita heading the activism against the pesticide poisoning. On top of the obvious problems with the body that the town is having because of their pesticide infected area (cancer, tombers, miscarriages, etc), the conversation of the word ‘body’ is very important to Act II particularly because there is a large amount of religious overtones and spiritual imagery. Body is a noun, which has its own connotation of either the subject (the important part) or the possessive. However, according to the OED, one definition of the word body is, “in biblical or theological language, the body of Christ: the Church of which Christ is the head.” Cerezita (also a name starting with a c)
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casey's heroes and saints essay - Casey Minella October...

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