Review: “But no matter where I went, Spanish would be the language of my writing and Latin America the culture of my language.” The essence of this essay is in the quotes.
Quote: “When I arrived here [the U.S.], Dick Tracy had just met Tess Truehart. As I left, Clark Kent was meeting Lois Lane. You are what you eat. You are also the comics you peruse as a child.”
Quote: “…the history of Mexico was a history of crushing defeats, whereas I lived in a world, that of my D.C. public school, which celebrated victories, one victory after another, from Yorktown to New Orleans to Chapultepec to Appomattox to San Juan Hill to Belleau Wood: had this nation never known defeat?”
Quote: “To the south, sad songs, sweet nostalgia, impossible desires. To the north, self-confidence, faith in progress, boundless optimism.”
Quote: “The French equate intelligence with rational discourse, the Russians with intense soul-searching. For a Mexican, intelligence is inseparable form a malicious—in this, as in many other things we are quite Italian.”
Quote: “For me, as a child, the United States seemed a world where intelligence was equated with energy, zest, enthusiasm.”
Quote: “As a young Mexican growing up in the U.S., I had a primary impression of a nation of boundless energy, imagination and the will to confront and solve the great social issues of the times without blinking or looking for scapegoats.”
The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Ed. Phillip Lopate. New York: Anchor Books. 1995.
To be continued.