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Gloria E. Anzaldúa
Autobiography, History, Women's Studies
In Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza Gloria Anzaldúa proposes through prose and poetry that the hybrid nature of the Chicano (relating to Americans of Mexican descent) culture of the Texas–Mexico borderlands creates the unique perspective of an outsider, belonging not to one culture or another but rather to the place where cultures intersect. This outsider perspective is a gift Anzaldúa calls la facultad (literally meaning "power, authority, or ability"). An individual who faces personal and collective trauma at the subconscious level can further develop la facultad, emerging enlightened. Anzaldúa calls this subconscious exploration "the Coatlicue state." The resulting healing process is not a one-time cure but rather a constant pilgrimage that informs Anzaldúa's art. Anzaldúa experienced oppression because of her race, gender, and sexual orientation, giving rise to an unapologetic and rebellious authorial voice that protests the idea that power resides solely with the traditional white, male heterosexual. With insights that remain widely studied, she proposes a radical new worldview of inclusivity, ushered in by the empowered mestiza.
Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza consists of two sections. The first section contains seven first-person essays narrated by the author, Gloria Anzaldúa. The second section contains poetry, some of which is narrated by a speaker who may be understood to represent Anzaldúa's persona.
The borderlands area (la frontera) where Texas and Mexico meet produces a hybrid culture of individuals with Native American, Mexican, and European American backgrounds (mestizos, literally meaning "mixed"). These mixed peoples were often expected by others to assimilate into traditional dominant white patriarchal cultural norms. Anzaldúa's book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza is a feminist rallying cry that challenges Chicanas (American women of Mexican descent) to upend traditional patriarchal power and form a new, progressive, and empowered third culture, the mestiza (the final -a makes the term feminine). The new mestiza captures the hybridity and multiplicity of the Chicana perspective to create a new world order of harmony and inclusivity.
This study guide for Gloria E. Anzaldúa's Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.