Dec 10, 2002 Chicano Lit Prof. Roberto Cantu Final Paper Clemente Chacon The book I chose for my research paper is Clemente Chacon by Jose Antonio Villarreal. This book deals with existential circumstances about a boy, which grows up on the Mexican side of the border and through crossing into the United States, he slowly rises into a high position in the Anglo-American business world. What is fascinating about this story is that it is not simply a story a biographical story about the difficulties the boy endured and how he overcame them. This story in intertwined with many themes, which occur in Chicano literature.
Themes such as immigration, pressures of assimilation, Mexican and Chicano sexual and religious taboos, father and son parallelism, mother and son antagonism, among many others. The chapters of the book are mixed up in a way, they go from when the protagonist is grown up to when he was a little boy in the mean streets of Juarez. The story also takes you back in time to the account of his birth and the journey his mother takes with her lover. In some cases the book shows many protagonists, and Villarreal does a good job of confusing the reader, but only so that at the end every sub-story and little details becomes and important part of the outcome and the story as a whole.
The focal point of the essay will be to analyze how the pressures of Chicano assimilation to the Anglo world can be traced to Mexican traditions and way of life. These traditions will be focused on father-son parallelism, mother-son antagonism, and Mexican and Chicano religious and sexual taboos. Clemente Chacon will be used as the basis that the essay is built on. By using the course reading for comparisons the essay the themes of the paper will be proven as a significant subject matter in not all but a lager part in Chicano literature that we have seen throughout the years. Clemente Chacon is a complex story about involving many different characters a various points in their life. The lie of the characters include important moments but the book mostly deals with the problem that the characters had to face in their development as part of a culture.
If I were to base my opinion of Jewish people solely on Mordechai Richler’s “Son of a Smaller Hero”, I would probably start wearing a Swastika on my arm and pledging my allegiance to the fuehrer. Richler characterizes Jews as a people who have an enormous lust for money, women, and power. Richler delivers a piece that seems the complete antithesis of his origional novel. While he ...
The book begins by telling the reader who Clemente Chacon is at the present time of the book. It is the mid 1980’s and Clemente is a high positioned insurance salesman living in El Paso, Texas. He has a wife and a son named Pete, which the author narrates that he loves very much. At the very beginning you notice the pressures of assimilation, which both Queli his wife and him face. Since they are both fair skinned his wife wants him to change his last name to Smith so that they wont be looked upon as Mexican. They both feel that there is a stereotype in where Anglo look upon Chicanos or Mexican in a sense that they are not equal in social status or even part of their culture.
That culture being having a capitalist mindset and showing what exactly you are worth through material ownership among other things. Right then and there you get a feeling that they are not comfortable being who they really are or what they want to be. They argue that their son is becoming too Americanized but yet they mostly speak in English and they live in an area of the town where white’s live. The second chapter of the book goes into a different city, country, and you can even say a different world than the first chapter of the book. As you begin this chapter the book takes a confusing turn because at one point you don’t know what’s going on.
The chapter takes you into the street life of Juarez. There is a series of hustling going on but the predominant way is pimping women. The chapter begins by two kids selling sex to a group of soldiers, which are on leave and are in Juarez. There you see the unraveling of a friendship between Mario and Ramon. The interesting thing is that as confused as you are at the moment you are reading the chapter, in the latter part of the book you find out that Ramon is actually Clemente.
A Clockwork Orange To leave out the final chapter of A Clockwork Orange is to change the entire meaning of the novel; as Burgess says in the introduction, his story is transformed into a fable. Without the last chapter the reader is left with a dark and pessimistic theme, that absolute good and evil exist in this world and it is possible for a man to be pure evil. Alex is conditioned and ...
This chapter illustrates he difficulties of being poor in a border city. These two kids are hustling for money because it is the fastest and easiest way to get money in that environment. Mario is portrayed a smart tough kid who has lived he street life for a while and is teaching young Ramon how to survive in the streets without actually having to get a job. Ramon mother is a whore who works in a bar and doesn’t really look after her child.
So Ramon is in a way forced to his kind of life. It is here when Ramon realizes that this is not the life that he wants to lead. The third chapter is describes the town and he manner in which Ramon mother, Jesusita lived. Jesusita lived in a town in southern Mexico daughter to a farmer. She gets pregnant by an old rich man Mexican who had lived in the United Sates. She then goes to Mexico City to give her son Ramon a better life.
There is where she finds out that the only better life she can lead is only to become a prostitute. Prostitution plays an important role in Clemente Chacon, this way of life is described as being a the only way a women in the 1950’s, without having any family money can rise up to a higher position by marrying one of her costumers if she is good enough. At first she hides being a prostitute from Ramon, but she commits he cardinal sin of being a prostitute; she fell in love with one of her clients. This clients name is Charlie Morgan. Charlie Morgan is an American from Texas.
At a very young age this man fell in love with the idea of being with a prostitute. This is what led o he demise of the man. His life spiraled downward after a leg injury caused the en of his sports career. Falling in love with prostitutes also caused him to be betrayed by one of his best friends hat led to his death because he tried to take Jesusita and Ramon from Mexico City into the United Sates. Jesusita worked for a large organization that managed prostitutes and costumers could only take women out if they were going to marry them but they had to be rich and influential which Charlie Morgan was not. Clemente Chacon never looked up to Charlie Morgan, but he always considered him an important part of his life.
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Immigration is an important theme in he story. Living in a border city, you see people come and go, especially tourists. Clemente, as a little boy hustling the streets, came to realize that the people with money on the streets weren’t the people that lived in Juarez. He saw that the people with money where the tourists, and who were the tourists; the Americans.
With Mario he learned that the American tourists only comes to Mexico for one thing, which in his eyes were to spend money. He quickly learned that pimping women was the most lucrative leisure of the tourist and the one which left the most money without actually having to do physical labor. You have to imagine the actual effect that tourism caused Ramon. Everyday he saw Americans drive up in their fancy cars spending money on things they were never really going to use. He must of thought that Juarez was a playground for the rich Americans that lived in El Paso. Even to the tourists that weren’t rich went to Juarez to have a good time.
Soldiers is a prime example of people that went to south of the border just for fun. They mostly went there to visit whore houses which Mario and Ramon worked for. Tourism is a main reason why Ramon decided to cross the border as an illegal. He learned English roughly through the tape recorder that Mario and through conversations that he had with tourists. Then after Mario drowned in the river, he took the chance of crossing and never looked back until his sister knocked on his door asking him to come visit his mother. After crossing the border Ramon knew what his decision would forever change his life.
After crossing the border he knew that there was no going back. He was going to make something of himself or die trying. Since all he knew was pain in his life, he knew that if he was going to be in agony he might as well be in a place were he could do better for himself. Although he liked being in Juarez, he knew the life he led there of pimping and hustling was not for him. In all, he couldn’t pimp because he knew that his mother was a prostitute and he had also found out that Mario had pimped for his mom many times before. The theme of immigration can be seen in the book Who would have thought it by Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton.
Americans in the early 20th century have been through a series of pivotal events that has affected the country greatly such as the Women Suffrage Movement, The Depression, and two World Wars. However, in my opinion the Harlem Renaissance is the most critical moment in our nation's history especially for African-Americans. The Harlem Renaissance is during the 1920s and 30s when in the upper ...
The difference In this book is that Lola was taken so that the Norval’s could lead a better life. Ramon crossed the border illegally because he knew that on the American side he could make a difference of himself. Although Lola’s mother asked Dr. Norval to take Lola with him, he knew that having Lola meant keeping her gold.
In a way what Dr. Norval did was to force immigration on Lola. Lola with her skin painted black was brought into an American family that already had pre-judgments about black people. Like Ramon, he knew that he was entering a society that did looked down on him because the fact that he was Mexican. He went into the United States because he knew that there was where the money was. Like Dr.
Norval, he knew that Lola meant having more money, so he brought he into a society which he knew wouldn’t accept her, but since he was an honorable man he made a decision that would help them both. Father and son parallelism is another important theme in this book. Two weeks after Ramon crossed the border into El Paso, he is found by Clemente Chacon Senior. This man took Ramon in to his home as a new son because he had lost his own son years before. The moment that the man’s wife, Dona Amparo looked at him, she asked him his name. Ramon then took the mans name for himself because he knew that they were going to be his new family.
From that moment on Clemente found what it was to have a family that sent him to school, fed him, and looked after him. He called Dona Amparo mama, but he never called his Clemente Chacon papa although he felt that Clemente was his real father. In his mind he felt a connection to Charlie Morgan although he didn’t know why at the moment. But he always thought that his first father was Mr. Clemente Chacon.
Virgil Smith was also a father figure to Clemente. Clemente thought of him as a father in the sense that Virgil taught him everything he knew about business. To Clemente, Virgil was a close friend and a powerful ally to him because he was one of the people he could trust. Clemente was going to get a promotion in the company that would put him in charge of four states. This promotion was to be given to him because he was the best insurance seller in Texas. Virgil Smith was the person that made this happen for him since he was his boss.
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them" Unfortunately, some children aren't able to grow up with both parents around, and in other cases both parents exist with multiple problems. With this happening it is hard for children to actually complete their goals and actually do what they want when they are older, thus not allowing them to achieve greatness. ...
This confidence that Clemente had on Virgil was shattered when he walked into his house and found Virgil sleeping with his wife. When he confronted them both his wife told him that having an affair with Mr. Smith was the only way that they could get ahead in life. This to Clemente was a slap in the face since his mother had been a prostitute. Now he thought of his wife as a women who had sex for money. From that moment on he could never feel the same way towards his wife since he felt such animosity toward his mother’s own prostitution.
Another father and son parallelism can be seen in how Clemente views his own son Pete. Clemente sees in Pete everything that he has allowed himself to become. That being his assimilation into the “white man’s world.” His son goes to an American school where he learns American values, never learning the Mexican traditions. Throughout the book you see how Clemente starts reinventing himself through the events that happen to him in during the day and at the end he realizes that he doesn’t want his son to live a life where his background is forgotten. At the end of the story, Clemente wants his son to visit his mother and see where he actually comes from. He makes peace will all his relatives so he can stop being angry for the pain of his early life, which he wants to change through Pete.
A comparison of this can be see in the book A beautiful cruel country by Eva Antonia Wilber-Crude. The comparison in this story is different though because the parallelism is with a father and her daughter. Here Eva’s father tries to mold her into a mirror image of himself. He knows that Eva will be the child who takes over the ranch after he passes away. So he has to toughen her up even at a young age so she can be ready when she comes of age. To compare the relationship between Eva and her father, and Clemente and his son is quit difficult.
An Explication of Langston Hughes’ “Mother to Son” Langston Hughes once stated in his own words that his whole purpose for writing was, “to explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America.” In the poem “Mother to Son”, he denotes his belief on racism in America. In “Mother to Son”, a mother is giving advice to her son about life from her ...
Eva’s relationship with her father is a based on the teaching and learning’s dealing with life on the ranch. Clemente doesn’t actually teach his son about Mexican traditions. He decides at the end that through his family, his son is going to experience the reality of Chicano life, since he has been assimilated into American society since he was born. Mother and son Antagonism is one of the strongest themes in Clemente Chacon.
Throughout the book, the reader gets the feeling that Clemente really feels a hatred towards his mother. He blames her for the rough childhood and the pain that he has endured during his life. He hated the fact that he was a prostitute but he found safety in friends that also had mothers who were prostitutes like Leopoldo Smith. Clemente’s thought that the only way to escape and forget about his mother was to leave Juarez and find a new life. In Juarez he found a new mother.
In a way, Clemente thought that he had two mothers. The one that bore him, and the on that brought him back to life. Although his birth mother Jesusita always looked after him and actually became a prostitute to be able to give his son a better life, it seems that Clemente forgot about the sacrifices that her mother made. She left the town of her birth to go to one of the largest and most dangerous cities in the world to try to make it on her own, send her son to school and try to give him a life she never had.
The question I’ve been asking myself is how could Clemente leave his mother if he knew that she depended on him so much. He left her without even leaving a note or saying good-bye. It seems like the death of Mario opened a short window of opportunity in his short life. It seems that the death of friend gave him a look into the future of what might happen to him if he stayed. At that point the only thing that would have kept him in Juarez was his mother, and he still chose to leave without saying a word. In many Mexican and Chicano families, it seems to me that a mother has a stronger bond with her son, like a father with her daughter.
The mother would do anything to protect her son because she feels that if anything would happen, her son would be the first person there to protect her. Likewise with the mother protecting her son. In this case Clemente left her mother because he was ashamed of her. What is also important is that he never tries to contact her for about 20 years. Even when his sister Caridad knocks on his door and asks him to come to Juarez and Dona Amparo tells him to go her, he still refuses.
Why doesn’t he want see his mother? A complete answer to that question seems to me can only be fully explained by the author. But in my opinion, I believe that at first he doesn’t want to see his mother because he is still ashamed for what she is and was. Then when Caridad tells her that his mother has married and is happy, I think that he doesn’t want to see her because he is afraid that she is not going to love him back because of the time he has been away. To him it is hard to see her because he it is difficult to remember his childhood. The key moment in this book is the beating he received by the Mexican militants, Los MACHO S. In my opinion that beating made him remember of his childhood.
In the book Clemente explains how the beatings hurt him from the inside. The beatings made him remember the pain that he has gone. His wife’s infidelity made him realize that his mother wasn’t such a sinful person. He reasoned that if his wife, who he loved so much, could do this to him and not feel that anything was wrong with it, his mother could have done it to give him a better life. Then, when he visited Evangelina Morgan and she told him that she had cheated on her husband, and that after that she realized that she loved him more than ever, Clemente started to have a different point of view of infidelity.
That’s when he decided to leave Queli, forgive his mother, and begin a relationship with Lucinda. The theme of mother and son antagonism can be viewed in many different perspectives. A man relationship with her mother can have good or bad repercussions with the bonds that he will have with the important women in his life. This is clearly seen in Clemente Chacon.
Clemente will have a different feelings toward the women in his life. To Dona Amparo he felt nothing but a mothers love. To his sister he felt responsibility. To his wife he had nothing but devotion, and to Jesusita he had mixed emotions until he understood what she had gone through for him.
Sexual taboos also play an important part in this story. The actual act of sex is a theme which mostly remains hidden in Chicano literature. In Clemente Chacon, sex is an important part of the book. At the beginning we see how Clemente and his wife are both sexually frustrated because Clemente cannot perform. Later in the story we find out that it was the relationship he had with his wife and the pressures he was under that influenced this frustration. When Charlie Morgan went to Tijuana for the first time to have sex he finds out that he cannot perform as well as he thought he could.
He was scared going into the whore house and it showed through his actions of not being able to perform with the first women. With the second girl he discovered that he had held and loved in order to perform because of his own insecurities. It was then and there that he realized that he was going to have to pay for sex to fulfill his own happiness. That void in his life led to his death. Religious Taboo themes are seen rarely in this book. The clearest form of it is seen when Ramon is falls ill with El mal ojo.
This illness is a form of paralyzes to the eye. In Mexico it is seen as a form of witchcraft. It happens when the baby is touched a person that has an evil spirit. In the story, when the family notices that Ramon has the evil eye, he is quickly taken to a medicine women that knows how to heal the evil spell. Don Ceyatano, quickly opposes to the such foolishness and tells Don Manuel that he should be taken to a real doctor.
Here we see assimilation in Don Ceyatano. Since he lived in America for the latter part of his life and made money there, he’s certainly not going to believe in the home remedies of a crazy women. But Don Manuel pleads with him until Don Ceyatano realizes that in this town, people are still very closed minded. In Clemente’s case at the very end of the book, we see how he has stopped forcing assimilating himself. At the moment he sees that his son may have a case of El mal ojo, he rejects his wife’s idea of calling the doctor and wants to take his son to a medicine women. Here at the of the book, we see a new side of Clemente.
One which had been hidden inside of him since the moment that he crossed the border into the United States. As he took control of his life, he remembered what it meant to be a Chicano. And although he might be assimilated, he will never forget his traditions. Assimilation is an important aspect in the life of every Chicano.
Clemente’s sense of identity and honor is questioned throughout the book. This teaches the reader a lesson on how well you know yourself. For minorities living in America, assimilation is a problem they face every day in their life. For Chicanos, I believe that they sometimes feel caught between cultures. In one culture you have the Anglo Dream, which is work hard and you ” ll get ahead in life.
This dream is derived from the puritans of Massachusetts, which implanted this idea into the capitalist mindset that lives today. On the other hand there is Mexican tradition, where the family is involved in every aspect of your daily life. Assimilation to many Chicanos means to begin being more independent and forget about what the family needs. Its what you want and what your willing to do and sacrifice to get where you want to be. This reminds me of Arturo Islas’ life story. This author of The Rain God left his home to pursue academics.
His assimilation was more personal than social. He had to assimilate to his sexual preference knowing that his family would be disappointed in him. In The rain God he tells the story young men not comfortable of being who they are and the problems that they had to face. In the book, Clemente Chacon, Clemente at the end realizes who he is and what he is which is a Chicano. In conclusion, the focus point of the essay was to analyze how the pressures of Chicano assimilation to the Anglo world can be analyzed through Mexican tradition and way of life.
The paper focused on different themes ranging from immigration, father-son parallelism, mother-son antagonism, sexual and religious taboos. Immigration as the first step into assimilation. Clemente as a boy worked hustling tourists in the streets of Juarez.