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Critical Analysis Here is to you Jesusa “Here is to you Jesusa” by Elena Poniatowska is a one of the most famous novels of all time. Elena is one of the most famous writers in Mexico, indeed in the whole Spanish-speaking world, and with good reason. She writes historical fiction and social commentary better than most authors in any language, and her book about the life of Jesusa is as good a social history as you'll ever read. Mexicans call it a testimonio. You could call it a "testimonial" in English, but it's more than that. The word in Mexican Spanish comes from the profession of faith you make after you purify your soul in confession and before you receive the sacrament at communion, during Mass in the Catholic church. The author, Elena Poniatowska, first interacted with Josefina Bórquez in 1964 during a compilation of interviews that revealed her life story. This is where Josefina became the fictional character of Jesusa, the main character in the novel, Here’s To You, Jesusa! Throughout the novel, the author uses these real-life experiences as described by her interviews with Josefina in combination with fictional events that she had created. Jesusa is frank about her bad as well as good qualities and portrays herself as very masculine in childhood. She also explains that her natural “badness” was an asset when she was fighting as a soldadera. At the same time, serving alongside others was a part of the maturing process. “I was a real tomboy, and I always liked to play at war, throwing rocks, . . . wrestling, kicking, pure boy stuff. . Even as a child, I was naturally bad. I was born mean . . The blessed revolution helped me grow up”. Jesusa is one of five siblings, living in the Tehuantepec Her mother dies when she is young. Her father, who works as a stevedore and guard in the port, is left to bring up the children who are still at home. He does this with a succession of girlfriends, the first of whom he moves in just eight days after his wife’s death. Jesusa does not generally get on
with her ”stepmothers” and, with one, even drives her out physically. But even though she is still young, she is expected to work and work she does, often getting up in the very early hours to do the housework and then working till late in the evening. Jesusa moves to Salina Cruz to become a nursemaid. She travels the country, meets many people but still remains her own woman, right up to the end. She does have a bout of religion, joining

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