➟ [Epub] ❤ ...y no se lo tragó la tierra / ...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him By Tomás Rivera ➩ – Golanvideoagency.info
Tomas Rivera S Original Spanish Language Novel Plus A New Translation Into English By Evangelina Vigil Pinon Y No Se Lo Trago La Tierra Won The First National Award For Chicano Literature In And Has Become The Standard Literary Text For Hispanic Literature Classes Throughout The Country It Is Now An Award Winning, Motion Picture Entitled And The Earth Did Not Swallow Him This was completely and absolutely my kind of thing And the Earth Did Not Devour Him features interconnected short stories that are loosely based on Rivera s experience This was done so well and with so much care and thoughtfulness I really enjoyed the setup of this book, it was half in Spanish and half in English The stories varied back and forth between being a couple of pages to a paragraph And even in just the paragraph there was so much While the stories depicted would get pretty gruesome and uncovered the despicable living conditions for migrant workers it never felt too much for me Even while describing death and destruction it was about how the people were dealing with it rather than just glorifying the violence I honestly already want to read it again and I even forced my boyfriend into listening to me read different sections to him. I don t read the horror genre I guess some people get adrenaline spikes or delicious thrills reading about zombies, or preternaturally clever serial killers or suchlike when I can bear to, I read novels like this fine translation of Rivera s brilliant work, which scour my soul with horror Here is a powerful, unrelenting, extraordinarily vivid explication of the misery and grim, distorting effects of culturally sanctioned poverty And, as such, it s an indictment of the culture that can permit human beings to be forced to live this way The structure is a frame tale The frame opens with The Lost Year, establishing that the protagonist, who has been mentally lost for an unstated time, has recovered memory of a specific year in his life Under the House closes the frame Between these frames the story is related in a series of vignettes Time, setting, and POV are elusive liminal just as are the precarious lives of the people described We pick up from clues such as references to the Korean War that the time of the lost year is circa 1950, though the frame could be contemporary The settings appear to vary, for the tale concerns the family and community of Hispanic migrant workers who follow the harvest seasons in various states cities are seldom mentioned, for the families live either on the edges of tiny towns, or else in encampments on ranches Crops ripen when weather is hot, so the characters move about in an eternal hell of summer weather, mostly working for unscrupulous bosses POV is sometimes first person, mostly tight third as the protagonist overhears conversation, but once in a while another POV breaks in, shedding brief illumination on the character of the protagonist by inference, such as the tiny vignette called The teacher was surprised This lack of identity of the central characters is liminal as well The reader is denied the comfort of standard narrative form, or a clear linear connection between chapters of roughly equal length The brevity of the novel, the collection of vignettes emphasize liminal lives as well as underscoring the main character s mental fragility Even reality is liminal At the very end, during the episode entitled Under the House in the long italicized section we hear all the voices of the protagonist s family and friends clamoring, their stories run together with the immediate consequences The protagonist, we discover, is not a boy, but a man Mami Mami There s a man under the house , and later the mother says, First the mother and now him He must be losing track of the years Some of his innate good nature remains as he remembers people, he wants to embrace them, and he hopes that maybe he can recover another year.Who exactly is this point of view character We never learn his name, and his family members are briefly referred to This namelessness underscores the splintering mental state of the character The reader observes how the traumatic events of this single year affect the young boy a bully causing him to be thrown out of school, and therefore out of hope of a future the three weeks with the murderous Don Laito and Dona Bone and their filthy, stuffy house and spoiled food the inadvertent encounter with adult sex just before his First Communion the burning to death of other children We get a hint that his mother is not stable she suffers from agoraphobia But there is no doctor to help them, they re too poor The possibility of getting medical help doesn t even occur to them, either for these problems, or for the sunstroke that Papa suffers from the ferocious heat while crop picking These people don t even have the benefit of an educated priest, and so they cling to the superstitious outer forms of Roman Catholic religion, and thus are denied the possible comfort of real faith The mother prays constantly and goes to charlatan psychics the boy tries to raise the devil, and on finding no devil, is struck by the terror of meaninglessness, with no one to guide him The first time he felt hate and anger was when he saw his mother crying for his uncle and his aunt This is how the vignette And the Earth did not Devour Him begins Its position is roughly halfway through the book Until now, despite the horrendous circumstances, we ve gained a clear portrait of a basically likable, good little boy, who loves his family, wants to go to school, works hard, and knows the difference between right and wrong Now, after the outer horrors, we get the beginning of emotional horror how the cruelty of hopeless poverty begins to distort people Not bad people, but good people In this nameless, faceless little boy we see all children of first and second grade, their faces round and smiling with hope, with faith in their safety, with belief in a world that makes sense if you re good, good things will happen to you But children cannot make their impulses to kind and compassionate behavior into habit if they come from an unsafe environment, and it is clear from the beginning that this unnamed little boy who could represent every little boy caught in the vicious exploitation of migrant workers is not safe Not at home, for despite his parents love they must work unending hours, and there s always disease lurking about Not in the outer world, for he can t even get a haircut Not at school, for even if all children are supposedly offered an education, bigoted teachers and administrators permit all the stinging social slaps by which those in power drive away those without the forced lice check and humiliating physical exam bullies are permitted to harass for minority children, or bigoted teachers and administration Not even in his own community, as Don Laito and Dona Bone prove And even when his safety is not threatened, the protagonist has to watch as good people are struck down by disease a boy is shot by a boss while trying to get a drink, and nothing happens to the man a nasty couple murder another man, and get away with it They are preying on their own people, but no one is capable of doing anything about it So, too, do the picture framers prey on the poor, only in this one instance Don Mateo does get brief restitution, if only for his own family Symbolically the boy is stripped of his identity, his name, his being No comfort in a harsh world, and ignorance prevents him from getting any comfort even from the spiritual guides ostensibly watching over the Hispanic community This boy represents every boy who is born into this grim situation The true horror is the ignorance and waste of this kind of poverty We get glimpses of the boy s potential his clear observations, his compassion, his wish to do right by his family But by the end of the book, he s unable to do anything, even brush off the fleas that bite him as he lies under the house thinking Those fleas represent all the stings of a harsh, indifferent world the flea does not know, or care, about its host any than the world knows, or cares, about this boy, outside of one furtive friendship Under the House You know, you can t come home with me any or an old lady such as Dona Cuquita Under the House You re smarter than an eagle and watchful than the moon and the brief interest of that teacher when he donates a button from his only shirt, to contribute to a school poster The loss of this boy s potential is a loss suffered by the world We sense it all along How I kept noticing brief, strongly vivid and lyrical lines, but they were deliberately kept brief, almost furtive Lines like That day started out cloudy and he could feel the morning coolness brushing his eyelashes as he and his brothers and sisters began the day s labor And the Earth Did Not Devour Him Brushing his eyelashes What an evocative image A few lines later, again During the morning, at least for the first few hours, they endured the heat but by ten thirty the sun had suddenly cleared the skies and pressed down against the world Pressed down against the world You don t just see that shimmering heat, you feel it, taste it, smell it, even hear it The episode The Night Before Christmas , in which the mother tries to make it to a store to buy presents, but succumbs to her agoraphobia, is full of horrorific but poetically evocative imagery She wanted to turn back but she was caught in the flow of the crowd which shoved her onward toward downtown and the sound kept ringing louder and louder in her ears And again She even started hearing voices coming from the merchandise She only saw people moving about their legs, their arms, their mouths, their eyes And, Then she lost consciousness of what was happening around her, only feeling herself adrift in a sea of people, their arms brushing against her like waves And there is Dona Cuquita s lovely line near the end You re smarter than the eagle and watchful than the moon Rivera keeps his poetry strictly leashed, only permitting it to flash out in service of quite horrible moments the heat, the mother s terror, the warped couple, the burning house But as we read on, there s this sense that the other shoe is going to drop, that the innate promise of poetry is going to transcend the material And when it comes, it is right before the end Just before the Under the House episode, the reader is granted the benison of that glimpse Bartolo, the poet, briefly shows up I recall that one time he told the people to read the poems out loud because the spoken word was the seed of love in the darkness Then it s gone, and so is Bartolo He s appeared, sold the poor workers his poems, and then he vanishes behind the crowd of voices in our protagonist s head And here is where Rivera makes his point the strongest From our unnamed boy, driven to insanity, to this unknown poet, an entire community has been stripped of its potential and who is the loser The world that permits this to happen Wouldn t we love to get glimpses of Bartolo s insights We re not going to He hasn t the education, or the right racial background, or even the free time, to hone that gift and surpass all these imposed barriers and step into the mainstream world with his poetry And so that wonderful voice speaks only to his community, and that briefly, and then is lost The reader is left with the protagonist waving in a friendly manner to an invisible friend atop another palm tree, and with the conviction that grinding poverty and unending labor, unfair treatment and bigotry do not just destroy the occasional small boy, but they destroy the potential of a people and the world is the poorer for the loss And that is real horror. I found myself flipping through it on Christmas Eve and came across a story called The Night Before Christmas, so of course, I had to read it The story was beautiful and heart wrenching, mimicking real life for many poor immigrant families.I borrowed this one from a friend in an effort to save a few bucks on school books, but the I read, the I think I m going to go ahead and buy my own copy This is one I ll want to pick up long after this class is over. A detailed portrait of a Latino community is what Rivera managed to illustrate in his book A community of the victims A literature of the victims Victims who, despite all adversities, never stop hoping.