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! BILINGUAL BLISS, BILINGUAL BLUES: A LOOK AT CUBAN AMERICAN TONGUE TIES BY GABRIELA PORTILLA A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsor ship of Dr. Sonia Labrador Rodr guez And Dr. Robert Zamsky Sarasota, Florida May, 2012
! "" Acknowledgments I wo uld like to thank my co sponsor s Professor Sonia Labrador Rodr guez and Professor Robert Zamsky for guiding me through out this thesis process. I would also like to thank Professor Jos Alberto Portugal for being on my Baccala ureate committee. And a big thanks to my family for being my inspiration for this project.
! """ Table of Contents Acknowledgments ii Table of Contents iii Abstract iv Introduction 1 Chapter One 6 Chapter Two 32 Chapter Three 58 Conclusion 85 Works Cited 89
! "# BILINGUAL BLISS, BILINGUAL BLUES: A LOOK AT CUBAN AMERICAN TONGUE TIES Gabriela Portilla New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT This thesis will focus on the literary construction of the Cuban American identity and how Cuban and American cultural elements fuse together in the critical works and poetry of Gustavo Prez Firmat. There is a trajectory of Cuban letters in the United States after the 1959 Cuban revolution as it progresses from exilic to ethnic. The three stages in this literary trajectory can be identified as: Cuban exile writers, a one and a half generation of writers, and Cu ban American ethnic writers. Greater emphasis will be placed on the one and a half g eneration or Cuban American generation, as these writers produce works that display a level of cultural hybridity not seen in the first and third generations. Chapter one will present a foundational understanding of the various literary groups that make up this trajectory. Chapter two will focus on Cuban American culture as it is presented by poet and scholar Prez Firmat including his theories on translational style and C uban American pop culture. Lastly, chapter three focuses on the socio linguistic and emotional issu es associated with bilingualism as it re lates to Cuban Bilingual Blues Dr. Sonia La brador Rodr guez Dr. Robert Zamsky Division of Hu manities Division of Humanities
! Introduction Cuban Literature, Cuban Exile Literature, Cuban American Literature. Where do es one end and the other begin 1 ? National Literature and the Cuban Literary Canon If one were to survey the national literary canon of Cuba, it would be a grave within the boundaries of the island. Although the term national literature assumes that the production of letters is contained within national borders, in the case of Cu ba, that assumption could not be further from the truth. Since the late eighteenth century, the Cuban literary tradition includes a multitude of writers who have written some of their best works outside of Cuba such as: Cirilo Villaverde, Jos Mara Heredi a, Jos Mart, and Gertudis Gomz de Avellaneda. These authors wrote extensively about the condition of exile and, as a result, made exile, displacement, nostalgia, and loss common in the Cuban aesthetic. From the Spanish American war to the triumph of the revolution in 1959 the political shifts in this island nation has lead to various groups of Cubans coming in and out of the country. Thus, it is hard to ig nore how """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 1
# the dramatic political changes in Cuba have affected Cuban writers and their national, cul tural, and linguistic loyalties. The project of defining national literature is designed to di literary tradition from are commonly made in regards to national literary canons. Firstly, it is assumed particular communal values, tensions, and experiences, and that authors are capable of embodying this co assume that members of the group wish to participate in or experience national literary canon is the fact that they continuously engage with collective consciousness of Cuba. They hold on to a Cuban identity, are influenced by their Cuban literary predecessors, and often produce works aimed at a Cuban readership, albeit sometimes th eir work does not reach Cuba due to censorship issues In addition, they continue to produce the majority of their work in Spanish This greatly determines their inclusion in the Cuban literary canon because Spanish is the national language of Cuba Theref ore, writing in another language would alienate them from their Cuban readership and thus, disqualify them from the canon. For that reason it can be said that Cuban exile writers are still Cuban writers and the difference between them is mainly geographic al. However, the same cannot be said for most Cuban American writers. These writers live and work in the United States. Whether they came as young adults from Cuba
$ or were born to exiled Cuban parents living in t he United States, these writers also work w ithin the collective consciousness of the United States Writers such as Gustavo Prez Firmat, Carlota Caulfield, Jos Kozer, Pablo Medina, Jorge Guitart, Bertha Sanchez Bello, Carolina Hospital, and many others in this group display a level of cultural hy bridization that can neither be classified as fully Cuban nor fully American. American writers, Los Atrevidos 2 provides a valuable statement about how to characterize this group. She states, When we categorize writ politico reality, (with so many artists in exile) we must resist the temptation to simplify. Writers cannot be defined simply by their choice of language, or their place of birth or residence. A detailed study of the cultural, social and linguistic legacies prevalent in the texts is crucial. Most writers today, especially in the United States, cannot be pigeonholed into a single national identity. This is the case for the Cuban American writer whose texts indicate grea t influences from both Cuban and North American literary traditions. (17) Although many scholars, including Hospital, organize these writers by place of birth and residence, this only serves as foundational background information. What she highlights are t he other considerations that must be made when categorizing this difficult to define group. For example, language is often used as a substitute measure of national identity. Yet, categorization based on language alone neglects various other aspects that im pact identity and thus, can be misleading. The majority of Cuban American writers produce work in English; yet, this is not always the case. Lourdes Gil, Elias Miguel Muoz, and """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 2 The Daring Ones
% Gustavo Prez Firmat have all published work in Spanish. In addition, many Cub an American writers still write about themes that are attributed to Cuban exile writers like displacement and nostalgia, yet they do so in English. In short, defining national literary canons can be a useful tool in organization and comparative studies. Ho wever in the case of Cuban American writers, its assumptions are extremely simplistic and attention should be paid to the complex ways in which these writers present their bicultured identities. Overview This thesis will focus on the trajectory of Cuban letters in the United States after the 1959 Cuban revolution as it progresses from exilic to ethnic. Special attention will be paid to biling ualism, code switching, and diglossia as it relates to presenting a bicultural identity. Chapter one will present a foundational understanding of the various literary Cuban American Literature of Exile: Person to Persona provides the theoretical framework that considers each of the three groups examin ed: Cuban exile writers, Cuban American writers, and Cuban American ethnic writers. I will then apply her framework to examine one representative writer from each group. Writers discussed in this chapter include Herberto Padilla, Ricardo Pau Llosa, and And I have mainly taken selections from ReMembering Cuba: Legacy of a Diaspora as her collection includes both interviews and creative works from each of these Cuban and Cuban American writers. Chapter two wil l focus on Cuban American culture as it is presented by poet and scholar Gustavo Prez Firmat including his theories on translational style. He claims that
& Cuban Americans live on the hyphen between cultures and, as a result, are experts at translation. Wo rks of his that will be examined include The Cuban Condition and Life of the Hyphen. His theories on Cuban American culture will also be applied to analyzing the first bilingual sitcom to air in the United States, Que Pasa U.S.A.? In addition, Gloria Anza Borderlands/ La Frontera will be discussed as it will highlight the various similarities and differences between Cuban American and Mexican American communities in the United States. Lastly, chapter three focuses on the socio linguistic and em otional issues associated with bilingualism as it relates to Cuban Tongues Ties is useful here as it investigates the emotional bonds between writers and their languages. He contends that there are various external and internal pressures that influence how writers feel about language including politics, culture, family, proficiency, Bilingualism, as it provides insightful discussions about the various ways linguists define bilingualism, code switching, and diglossia. These terms and theories are then applied to a literary Bilingual Blues.
' Chapter One Exile and a New American Identity Classifying Cuban and Cuban American Literary Generations Since 1959 until the end of the Mariel Boatlift in 1980, close to 800,000 Cubans have emigrated from Cuba to the United States (Alicea 50 51). This time span has seen various waves of migr groups escape the island, each demographically different from one another but nevertheless emigrating due to the political and economic changes brought about by Fidel 3 The powerful political and social agency of this hi storical event has scattered a number of Cuban writers and artists around the world; """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 3 According to the Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States: Sociology Cuban immigration to the United States since the communist revolution can be divided into roughly three eras: 1) January 1959 to 1962, 2) the Camarioca boatlift and airlift from 1965 to April 1973, and 3) the Mariel Boatlift from May to September 1980. The first wave of exiles immediately following the triumph of the revolution typically
( their works further contributing to the already well established tradition of exilic Cuban literature. This first chapter will consider the various thematic and linguisti c choices of exiled Cubans poets in the United States and Cuban American poets since the beginning of the Castro regime in 1959 in order to examine a literary trajectory of the Cuban American identity that has progressed from exilic to ethnic. I will be us ing Isabel Alvarez based categories from her book, Cuban American Literature of Exile: Person to Persona, in order to highlight common trends that differentiate these generations 4 Alvarez Borland is the Monsignor Edward G. Murray Prof essor of Arts and Humanities in the Spanish department at the College of Holy Cross. Her academic research focuses on Cuban and Cuban American literature and she has written an ample amount on this subject including Negotiating Identities in Cuban American Art and Literature and Identity Memory and Diaspora: Voices of Cuban American Philosophers, Writers, Poets and Artists. country of education, and the amount of time spent in Cuba. This rubric assumes that the longer a writer stays in Cuba, and especially if he or she is educated there, the more li kely it is that their writing constructs and supports a Cuban identity. On the other hand, Cuban writers who left the island as children or Americans born to Cuban parents tend to incorporate and accept, although not completely, an American identity. Alvar ez in her book such as Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Ruth Behar, Achy Obejas, and Cristina """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 4 Although her book deals exclusively with prose works, I will adapt her framework in order to examine poetry.
) Garca are organized into three parts, each representing a stage in the trajectory of Cuban identity affected by exile to the United States: the immediate experience of exile, an in between generation, and the Cuban American community. 5 I believe Alvarez Borland rightly associates country with identity, especially in analyzing these writ ers to whom the theme of exile is important to their work. Their literary construction of place and consequently their national and cultural identity is informed by their experiences of exile and the cultural differences between Cuba and the United States. Thus, the trajectory Alvarez Borland establishes in her book is extremely useful when applied to understanding the shift in Cuban letters from exilic contemplations to ethnic ones in Cuban American communities. The First Generation Alvarez Borlan d categorizes two distinct generations, calling them the first generation and the second generation, respectively. The writers of the first generation acknowledge the mul ti layered chronology of these writers in terms of when they left the island; however, this does not complicate her categorization due to what she sees as a common thematic trend among these writers. She states, The narratives of first generation authors selected for this study record the experiences of exile in its most naked stages. Because of the temporal proximity to the physical experience of exodus, this writing displays indignation and anger toward the traumatic events or individuals causing """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 5 The three ch Writing as
* the exi le. This a literature with an overt political context that expresses angry feelings of betrayal reflecting the chronological proximity of the events to the writing. While the United States appears as the setting in some of these narratives, the presence of the adopted country is not central bitter and nostalgic perspective of exile. (6 7) In this manner, Alvarez Borland is able to include writers such as Cabrera Infante who went into e xile in 1965 alongside Reinaldo Arenas who arrived during the Mariel Boatlift in 1980 because the experience of being uprooted in adulthood presupposes the disruption of established careers, family ties, and cultural familiarity no matter what time in hist ory they emigrated. The proximity of these writers to the experience of exile informs their works which tend to dramatize exile, politics, and nostalgia. In addition, many in the first generation continue to publish works in Spanish. These writers were ful ly educated in Cuba and established literary careers before exile; therefore, it is perhaps to be expected that Spanish would continue to be their primary Spanish reade proficiency in English, writing in Spanish in the United States alienates a large majority irst generation writers writing in Spanish (no matter how long they have been in exile in the United States) as American writers solely based on the fact that they produced works inside the United States is an overly simplistic classification that neglects issues of language, cultural identity, and intended audiences. I hold that national literature does not
!+ always have to be produced within the borders of that country as evidenced by the rich Cuban tradition of exilic literature that includes many works ca nonized in Cuba as language is then often used as a marker of nationality because language designates ified by analyzing language, dialect, and accent. Furthermore, since languages exist as systems that require the participation of speakers, the choice of language also identifies the intended audience. Therefore, when literary constructions of cultural ide ntity cannot be indefinitely in categorizing writers, literary groups, and identifying the demographics of intended audiences. Yet, this is not to say that works writ ten in Spanish automatically disqualify as American literature. The United States is speckled with multilingual communities whose cultural works are not always in English. Nevertheless, most Cuban exile writers of the first generation consider Cuba, first and foremost, home. The One and a Half Generation Alvarez Borland further expands what she sees as the development of Cuban American letters by identifying a second generation of writers. She divides this group into two subsections: the one and a half gen eration (or 1.5 generation) and Cuban American ethnic writers. For the purposes of this thesis, I will treat these two subsections as distinct groups. I believe this is a fair deviation from her categories as there are various differences between them, esp is the subgroup of writers who left Cuba during their early
!! cites what Cuban socio logist Ruben Rumbaut identifies as two unique conditions of this generation; These refuges youths must cope with two crisis producing and identity defining transitions: (1) adolescence and the task of managing the transition from childhood to adulthood, a nd (2) acculturation and the task of managing the transition from one sociocultural environment to another. (qtd. in Alvarez Borland 7) Unlike their first generation peers who tend to be more closely identified as Cuban writers who happen to be in exile, t he one and a halfers are the transitional group between Cuban and American letters. One and a halfers like Gustavo Prez Firmat, Carolina Hospital, and Ricardo Pau Llosa dramatize in their works the tensions that occur when two different cultures meet and interact. This allows for a level of cultural hybridization that is not matched in the first generation or in the Cuban American ethnic writers. As a consequence of leaving Cuba before adulthood, the one and a halfers are not fully Cuban nor are they full y American. Displacement for them, unlike the first generation, can go either way. Due to the circumstances of growing up on the island but establishing lives and careers in the United States, this generation has the ability to switch the direction of thei r literary gaze either towards Cuba or towards the United States. They live, as Prez Firmat would say, on the hyphen. Although the wider availability of elements from both cultures and languages is advantageous as a well spring of artistic possibility and constructions, this characteristic nevertheless presumes a conflicted identity.
!# This hyphenated generation also has another name given to them by poet scholar Carolina Hospital from her anthology, Los Atrevidos. Poets that belong to this group include he rself, Gustavo Prez Firmat, Lourdes Gil, Jorge Guitart, Pablo Medina, Roberto Fernndez, Mercedes Limn, Iraida Iturralde, Carlos Rubio, Bertha Snchez Bello, Elas Miguel Muoz, and Ricardo Pau Hospita (16). This new historical reality is seen thematically as the shift from waiting t o return back to Cuba to realizing there is no turning back, their future is in the United States. Along with this new future in a new land, comes a new language. Hospital further states that, One of the greatest risks taken by these Cuban American writer s lies in their usage of English. Because most of these authors write primarily in English, they are automatically dismissed and excluded from anthologies By choosing to write in English, Los Atrevidos are ris king severing communications with their monolingual Spanish readership, but fortunately they are opening up a new dialogue with an English readership in America and abroad. More elaboration on the one and a half generation will take place in chapter two of this thesis. The Cuban American Ethnic Generation Finally, Alvarez Borland identifies the last Cuban American literary group which identifies as more American than Cuban. She states Cuban American ethnic writers are
!$ young writers who came to the United States as infants or who were born in the United States to parents of the first exile generation. These Cuban Americans have moved further away from Spanish since some of them learned English and Spanish simultaneously as yo ung children. Others, in fact, never really mastered the Spanish language. (8) Language here is perceived as a marker of distance from Cuba. Since many of these writers did not experience exile firsthand (or were too young to remember it), their writing t ends to be less political than the generation of writers before them, albeit there are exceptions. Also, the choice to write in English is not really a choice for them since they grew up in the United States where life is mainly conducted in English and th eir knowledge of Spanish is usually not formal and spoken primarily in the home. Alvarez Borland also states that for Cuban will be oriented towards issues of recovery as they set about the task of constructing a U.S have lost anything to recover. While it is true that these writers have not had the o their identities is not one of recovery but one of discovery. Cuban American ethnic writers are limited to contemplating Cuba and their Cuban identity by negotiating through family anecdotes and a politicized American perspective on the relationship between the United States and Cuba. This group of writers asks: What is the real Cuba like? A question that would be irrelevant to the first generation and the one and a ha lfers. Thus, I believe that these writers are using their Cuban heritage as a means to propel literary
!% contemplations about what the real Cuba is like which must take place exclusively in their imagination. On the whole, what is prevalent throughout th ese generations is a preoccupation with their relationship to Cuba and to the United States. This is played out by each aspects affect their poetic construction of place. The following sections will examine one these writers from each other. This method will showcase the trajectory of Cuban letters that transforms from exilic to ethnic. For every section I will use either an interview or a biographical narrative about the author paired with their poetry in order to see how they define their relationship with eilly ReMembering Cuba: Legacy of a Diaspora as her collection includes both interviews and creative works from Cuban and Cuban American artists and writers. Furthermore, her anthology is organized similarly to the exilic to ethnic traj ectory manifested to some extent in each of the poetry selections I have made. I believe that constructed and how displacement, biculturation, and ethnicity are treated differently by each generation. However, this is not meant to imply that writers from each gener ation always and at all times fit into their respective category. What I mainly wish to show are the common thematic and linguistic trends present in Cuban and Cuban American letters
!& that other literary scholars and myself see as evolving from exilic conte mplations to ethnic ones. In addition, I will ask three questions that I believe are useful in exploring national identity: Where are they? How do they feel about where they are? And who is their audience? Analyzing thematic choices and what language they choose to write in is useful when considering these questions. Although the role of language in this chapter is mainly limited to analyzing whether the poet writes in Spanish or English, the subsequent chapters will expand upon the use of Gustavo Prez Fi and English in his collection of poems Bilingual Blues. The First Generation: Heberto Padilla Heberto Padilla was born in Puerta de Golpe in the western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio in 1932. After the triumph of th e Revolution in 1959, Padilla traveled correspondent for Cuban publications. Both Padilla and his wife, poet Belkis Cuza Mal, were initial supporters of the Castro government u ntil what came to be known as the Padilla Affair (Gonzlez Echevarra). In 1968 Padilla won the Julian del Casal poetry prize for his collection of poems Fuera del juego 6 The Cuban Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC) found the book to be counterrevoluti onary and after much deliberation, the UNEAC agreed to publish the book with a disclaimer stating the counterrevolutionary nature of the work. Following the publication, Padilla found himself jobless. He wrote a letter to Castro and was then """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 6 Out of the Game
!' employed by th Fuera del juego : Fuera del juego was published; On March 20, 1971 he is imprisoned by State Security agents; he is finally released on the 27 th of April 1971, after spending roughly a month in prison. The very same evening of his release, Padilla attends a general meeting of the UNEAC where he performs his confession, act of contrition and self criticism for the audien ce. (89) Note that Quesada uses the word perform to indicate that Padilla must have done this against his better conscience. On account of his incarceration and subsequent public confession many writers, artists, and politicians became polarized along par ty lines. Well known intellectuals, including Simone de Beauvoir and Jean incarceration. As a result of this attention, he became a symbol used to showcase the tyranny of the Castro regime. Since 1961, when C astro delivered his famous statement to intellectuals and artists in Cuba knew that their primary job was to advance the causes of the revolution. 7 The Padilla Affair becam incarceration served as a grim reminder to all other artists in Cuba of the dangers of being counterrevolutionary. Padilla was finally allowed to leave Cuba in 1980 to the United States where he was hailed a hero. He taught literature in many U.S. universities until his death in 2000. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 7
!( recounts his exile experience in 1980. At the end of the interview he states, In my opinion, exile is one of the biggest catastrophes of any age; however, it is worse for writers. You are disconnected from your natural environment or milieu and from your native tongue, and thus you are because history has demonstr ated this that tyrants are eternal: Pinochet, Franco, Stalin. I believe that one day we will reunite once again in our country, like the artists and intellectuals who returned to Spain after the arrival of democracy. (213) Without a doubt, this a different Padilla from the Padilla who was forced to renounced Fuera del juego The United States offered Padilla an environment in which he was free to be critical of the Cuban government from a safe distance and without the threat of censorship. However, this fre edom came at a great cost. The painful and traumatic experience of exile is immediate and clearly fuels the contemplations of his work. What happens to a writer who has been forced to leave his home and cultural haven? The brief exert above shows an optimi stic Padilla who holds onto the dream of returning home. Unfortunately for Padilla and other writers of the first generation, they gradually realized they would never return to Cuba and the sadness of this dream unfulfilled permeates many of their literary works. Displacement, a theme which goes hand in hand with the condition of exile, is Spanish version by Alistair Reid and John A. Coleman. Here the speaker, who is in exile,
!) parallels the displacement he feels with the various things around his new home. There my house/ there is a diagonal plane full of people/ painted as harlequins / who want to 3). The harlequin figures play an Here, the speaker is imposing his aspirations of movement onto th e static images of the harlequins. By virtue of the plastic nature of painting, they are forever frozen and can only imply movement through gesture. Thus, the speaker has no choice but to create this desire for movement in his imagination. He further state 16). As the poem progresses and touches upon themes of displacement and yearning for change (specifically a change that in location), the harlequins can be vi ewed in terms of unrealized political action. The author can no more move the harlequins than he can change the politics causing the separation between him and his lost home. Thus, the imagination and the act of writing out the poem are the only spaces ava ilable for any type of agency. In section two, the speaker reveals that he is indeed located in the United States. 18). The establishment of place is essential here because it provides t he context for the tension remarks about his Siamese cat; every day it comes up the stairs from the yard to the door, sniffs and nibbles
!* but it never enters the house. When the cold comes it finds shelter In the high brush, Waiting for the door to open. (20 26) The behavior of the cat is paralleled to the situation of the owner. The cat motions toward the house, it goes right up to it, and examines it before it turns awa y. Additionally, the cat takes shelter away from the house when it is unable to gain access inside. This depiction mirrors the situation of exiles, specifically of this speaker. Similarly to the cat, the speaker is gazing and aspiring towards a lost home. He talks about it and imagines it although he cannot actually physically go there anymore. The cat, by the same token, finds shelter in the high bush during the rough times of winter when it is unable to go home. This is exactly what the exile speaker is d oing in his new home in Princeton. Unable to go home due to the political climate, the speaker is forced to take refuge in a new place. The last line of this section also makes a reference to this recurring theme of waiting for the opportunity to move. Sim ilarly to the harlequin figures, the cat, due to situations outside of its control, is forced to wait for an opportunity. In section three of the poem the speaker is also waiting for change. The section Between the cat and the door/ Between 32). The use of anaphora emphasizes and categorizes the is aware of the distance between the cat and the door and uses this as a point of comparison for his own exile.
#+ It is important for the discussion of this thesis to emphasize that the speaker not only experiences a physical distance between countries, but he also experiences distance linguistically. This poem was originally written in Spanish and thus only read by Spanish speakers until it was translated by Reid and Coleman. Interestingly, Reid and Coleman take on a form of agency by their translation that is unavailable to Padilla in regards to providing the poem to a wider readership. Language choice is inherently distancing for a readership not fluent in that particular language. Thus, the futility of a non Spanish speaker trying to read the original wou figures would escape their paintings and dance around the front yard. waiting./ Then I open my eyes and what 30). After the Cuban exodus of 1959, many questions plagued the minds of Cuban exiles, but perhaps the most common of all was, how soon can I go back? Unfortunately for mos t, temporary exile became permanent such as for Padilla who died in Alabama in 2000. Exiles began to realize that the triumph categorizes as the first generation, the experienc e of exile became central to their works. As a consequence of not returning, the Cuban exilic literature of this time was categorized by preoccupations with displacement due to exile, nostalgia for a lost home, and pent up frustration due to the condition of futile waiting.
#! The One and a Half Generation: Ricardo Pau Llosa Llosa, is a prolific poet and scholar of the one and a half generation. Born in Havana in 1954, he left the island in 1960 an Llosa argues that Cuba before the 1959 revolution was in a blaze of 1920s, Cuba had become the first modern nation to obliterate t son and danzn whic h four pillars of Hispanic culture in this century along with Argentina, Spain, and Mexico (214). The high pedestal on which Pau Llosa places pre 1960s Cuba sharply co ntrasts to what he sees now as an utter collapse of Cuban civilization with the triumph of the revolution in 1959. He states, culture of synthesis have not survived forty years of co mmunism on one front, exile frivolity and amnesia on another, and on a third front the manipulation and distortion of facts by foreigners with their own agendas and neuroses. (221) T hese assaults are all suppressing the greatness that was once the Cuban civilization. In addition, he boldly claims that the distance created by exile is also contributing
## more painfully evident than when talking to young Cuban Americans in Miami, the so called capital del exilio 8 Cuban and is peppered with waves of immigration. He goes on to say, Cuban Am ericans seem, by and large, unaware that their minuscule vision of Cuba is pathetically inadequate to support their reiterated claim that allegiance help explain why so many Cuban Americans can onl y conceive of the catastrophe that befell their homeland, or that of their parents, in terms of lost family properties or personal references (e.g., an imprisoned relative). When there is no overall vision of the historical, the historical can only be regi In other words, Pau Llosa is being critical of Cuban Americans claiming Cubanidad 9 because they do not possess the knowledge of the historical and cultural significance of Cuba; because of this, the children of exiles a re pledging allegiance to a nation they know very little about. While I do believe that being well versed in the history of Cuba should be very important to Cuban Americans, I do not believe that it should be the sole measure of Cubanidad The Cuban Ameri cans that Pau Llosa has in mind are fully justified in identifying as Cuban if they have a sincere affection towards that part of their identity. If their Cuban identity is not supported by knowledge, it is supported by family and perhaps most of all, the Spanish language. My stance of affection over knowledge comes from my """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 8 Exile Capital 9 Cuban identity or Cubanness
#$ findings on theories regarding mother tongues (which is elaborated on in chapter three). Individuals do not have to be proficient in their mother tongue to claim it as part of their ling uistic family. The mother tongue is representative of home, of family, and a sense of community. It is a second language, not a foreign tongue one simply picks up from a book. I believe that, by extension, children of exiles can claim the Cuban identity as part of who they are because Cuba to them represents their family and possibly their other tongue, Spanish. Nevertheless, I do think what Pau Llosa is saying in his essay is very important and illuminating about some of the concerns brought up by the one and a half generation. What he sees is the slow decline of the importance of Cuba as a nation in Cuban American communities like Miami. As a Cuban exile, the subsequent generations being born in the United States are becoming less Cuban and more American. This is troubling for Pau Llosa and other one and a halfers who see the future of Cuban exile communities transforming into ethnic communities. Yet, it is important to understand that the fall of the Cuban civilization might not be as important to later C uban American ethnic writers in the future because their understanding of Cuba might only need to rely upon how their Cuban heritage interacts with their American upbringing, if at all. Pau ncing a featured in Los Atrevidos anthology. The subject of the poem, a poet near death, is ough the poet does not hold a high regard for his creation, the emperor convinces him to spare the
#% poem, and shortly afterwards the poet dies. The second stanza of the poem provides a back story for the poet; He was from another country, ambassador, discreet, often in love. He had learned the music of the court and found it better than that of his own land, which he was now forgetting. In the end, he had lived most of his life at the court, happy to confuse his dreams for theirs. (16 23) The ambassado r poet has fully gone through cultural assimilation. He has willingly, and with much enthusiasm, adopted the music and dreams of his new court and home. In the process, he has weakened his attachment to his native country. This transformation can aptly be paralleled to the experiences of Cuban exiles who have embraced their new life the wrong decision, their dreams cannot be his own (23). The last two lines of the poem poignantly reveal why the speaker of the poem 26). The emperor has taken advantage of the poet in order to conquer his nation. Interestingly enough, this poem seems to support my thesis on the importance of affection rather than knowledge as a me asurement of cultural identity, but most
#& importantly, cultural loyalty. The poet was very knowledgeable about his country but this did not prove beneficial for his country at all. In the end, it was his diminished loyalty to his mother country that subsequ ently leads to its colonization. foreign ambassador and the policies of the United States regarding Cuban exiles during the Cold War era. In the Handbook of Hispanic Cultur es in the United States: Sociology communist government. With the urging of Presid ent Nixon in 1960, the CIA had created were a powerful propaganda offensive, a covert intelligence and action organization in Cuba to be responsible to the exile opposition, a paramilitary force outside of Cuba for future guerilla action. (M. Torres 135) The United States, in order to eliminate communism and secure hegemony in the Western hemisphere, enacte the ways in which to do this was to train exiled Cubans for covert missions in Cuba. The most famous of these missions was the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 in which many Cubans lost their lives. States policies have used Cubans against the Cuban government is a critique of the
#' immense agency of politics and culture on individuals. The inescapable question of p olitical allegiance faces not only these one and a halfers, but all Cuban Americans. The first generation of poets, like Padilla, tend to be overtly political because of the trauma of being uprooted from their country occurred when they were adults. As the first generation gives way to the second generation and third generation, Pau Llosa addresses the role in which these generations will view Cuba and its future. There is no denying that Cuba and the United States are not only separated geographical, but i deologically and culturally as well. Assimilation becomes a major point of concern with exiled Cubans because as time passes on, and their children become Americanized, the futility on placing their aspirations of a Cuban homecoming on them become evident Ricardo Pau Llosa is very similar to poets of the first generation for his politically charged poetry. What sets him apart from the first group is his preoccupation with the issue of keeping and participating in Cubanidad for the one and a halfers and thei r children. He is in a situation in which he can comment and critique the politics of Cuba, and, most importantly, since he writes in English, he can present his works to an Ame rican readership including the c hildren of Cuban exiles. He is definitely in th e middle of these generations by taking into account the history of Cuba, acknowledging and using the United States as a safe place to write, and at the same time worrying about the future of Cuba and Cuban letters. However, not all of Los Atrevidos te nd to be so political or see acculturation as a crisis. In the next two chapters of this thesis, special attention will be made to Gustavo Prez Bilingual Blues His critical writings suggest that he has ac cepted the inevitability that his children will never be
#( Cuban. In addition, he does not frame the incorporation of American culture and English as assimilationist; rather, he argues that Cuban style has always been re creative in nature and that it produc es distinctiveness through translating what was available. Therefore, the children of Cuban exile parents stay true to Cuban style by translating what they have inherited from their parents with what they have in the United States. Cuban American Ethnic mother and a second cubanita pasada por agua, 10 identities she created while growing up. She states, So immersed was I in these [exile] realities that I grew up identifying first as a Spaniard [my grandmother insisted upon aligning herself wi th her Iberian ancestors, though she never actually traveled to Spain], and then as a Cuban [calling myself American never crossed my mind]. ( 317) overtly turned outwa rd that her country of birth does not even figure into her identity. These tendencies in overlooking an American identify stem from the distraction of an siblings and cous ins, grew up longing for and dreaming about a world that no longer (318). She further claims that, """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 10 A little Cuban girl passed through water
#) it prompted in me a kind of creative and intellectual self explorati on (which has culminated in this collection and is recently published novel) regarding my own relationship, if not to the Island itself, to the idea of Cuba that my mother and my grandparents so lovingly nurtured in me and cultivated over all the years, an d regarding a worldview that informed my unconsciousness life and has nourished my imagination since earliest childhood. (319) The mystery of heritage is a rich source of artistic contemplation. Note that Cuba as a real place has been replaced by a Cuba of the imagination, constructed by familial anecdotes and Cuban American pop culture. her greatgrandmot her mot her together and italicizing the word her serves to emphasize the connection between them as if they have been compounded into one entity. Also, each woman appears in the poem imply she was from the Spanish or French region of the Pyrenees Mountains. The choice cultural roots in other regions o f the world than her immediate location. I believe this the poem. The speaker says then unannounced, the first appears in profile ----
#* impatiently discards the modern, choosing instead a circle of scarabs on linen, 17) Unlike the third woman and second women, the first woman has a physical interaction with the speaker, she is dressing her. This is why the first woman is most likely to be the mother as she would be the closest female family member to th e daughter. The mother shares with her daughter a gaze which is fixed on looking into the past, as is noted by taste in vintage clothing. geographically what is the speaker is feeli ng figuratively. She is most likely the grandmother and is said to be present among the shadows between two shores, riding the dark waves of my hair, across these endless seas that unite us and divide us. (19 23) I believe that the second women appears la st in the poem because she serves as the geographic link between the women and the speaker wishes to emphasize this by forced relocation, the poem does not make this e xplicit) that has resulted in the speaker and her mother being born in counties different from the great of distance is played in many paradoxes present in this poem. The sea is a paradox because as the one thing they share in comm on, it unites them but simultaneously
$+ distances them. In addition, time is a paradox because it is conceived of as another sea which the speaker is traversing to discover her heritage. However, the most important he is one voice yet she constantly references herself as plural. In doing this, she acknowledges that she is the sum of three women, all present within her. In short, Herrera in both her prose and poetry typifies the dilemma facing Cuban American ethnic w riters about what it means to be Cuban. Since few have visited the island, let alone lived there, Cuba becomes an exercise in investigating small pieces of evidence found in the United States through family anecdotes and research. Then there is the further problem of whether or not the evidence is authentic which is theme that I see originating with the one and a half generation. When Prez Firmat provides various definitions of terms like biculturation or cubanidad he is practicing a form of authenticatio writing when in conjunction with her quest for cultural heritage. There is a need to contemplate where the line is between American and Cuban, although many times, like in biculturat ion, American and Cuban is one and the same. Yet more than any one cultural symbol that proves cubanidad language is portrayed as the major indicator of authenticity. Although Herrera does not explicitly address language, much is said by the mere fact th at her work is written in English. Thematically she can approach Cuba; however, the language barrier prevents her from fully exploring the artistic possibilities of her ancestors mother tongue. Although none of these poets so far use bilingualism to explor e identity, I chose to extensively investigate
$! Bilingual Blues for examples of identity construction through bilingual language games.
$# Chapter Two Exploring the Hyphen Being Cuban American The relationship between Cuba and the United States is a long and bittersweet history. Since the 16 th century, Spaniards and other Europeans have used Cuba as the gateway into the Caribbean and the North American and South American continents. The city of San Agustn de la Florida, founded by the Spanish in 1565, is the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States. The survival of this city would not have been possible without its relationship to Cuba, because the island provided almost all of the settlement s goods for subsistence (Marchena 149). Currently, the ties between Cuba since the 1960s. The embargo, the exile, and the ideological differences between these two coun tries have left many Cubans in the United States, isolated from their homeland and forced to accept the United States as their new reality. However, in the words of Cuba n LH 3).
$$ This chapter will investigate Cuban and Cuban American culture through the the Desi Chain legacy 11 and immigrant communities. At the foundation of t he Cuban ethos, Prez Firmat argues, is a tradition of translation that has been adapted by the Cuban American presence in the United States. This can be seen topographically in the neighborhood of Little Havana in Miami, and linguistically in the use of S panglish. In very significant link of the Desi Chain legacy, the first bilingual sitcom to air in the United States, Qu Pasa U.S.A? In addition, some attention in this chapter will be paid Borderlands/ La Frontera in order to provide a point of comparison and contrast. By pairing Anzalda and Prez Firmat, I hope to highlight the similarities between these two Spanish speaking immigrant communities in the United States in terms of language usage and identity politics, but also accentuate the particularities of the Cuban American community especially in terms of American tude on assimilation. Gustavo Prez Firmat Poet, author, and scholar, Gustavo Prez Firmat was born in Havana, Cuba in 1949. He and his family immigrated to the United States in 1960 when he was 11 years old after the Castro regime confiscated his famil himself part of the 1.5 generation. He has written a number of books about Cuban and """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 11 Named after the Cuban American actor Desi Arnaz; famous for staring in the I Love Lucy show.
$% Cuban American culture. His books of literary an d cultural criticism include: Idle Fictions (1982), Literature and Liminality (1986), The Cuban Condition (1989), Do the Americas Have a Common Literature? (Editor, 1990), Life on the Hyphen (1994), My Own Private Cuba (1999), and Tongue Ties (2003). He ha s also published five collections of poetry in English and Spanish: Carolina Cuban (1987), Equivocaciones (1989), Bilingual Blues (1995), and Cincuenta lecciones de exilio y desexilio (2000), and Scar Tissue (2005); a novel, Anything But Love (2000); and a memoir, Next Year In Cuba University of Michigan and taught at Duke University from 1979 to 1999. Currently, he is the David Feinson Professor of Humanit ies at Columbia University. The Cuban Condition: A Tradition of Translation The Cuban Condition (CC) is a work which examines the nature of the Cuban character and Cuban style, specifically during the time following the Republican investigation into Cuban culture because it marks the beginnings of what he views as the formation of the Cuban ethos ( CC 5). Writers and intellectuals following the decades and African he CC 6). The resulting works by writers and intellectuals in defining what makes up the Cuban identity was not only a
$& creative endeavor, but a highly politicized one as well in order to recognize and legitimize t he newly independent nation of Cuba. El estilo en Cuba y su sentido histrico asserts that Cuba simply lacks its own unique style. His reasons are twofold: Cuban was mostly valuable as a port and a way station for travelers throughout the Spanish empire. Maach states in his essay (translated by Prez F irmat), Cuba had to start from little more than a tabula rasa The Cuban Indian, as is known, did not surpass the infracultural level. No traditional stock of autochthonous images nourished the initial creole sensibility. Our means of expression, from the beginning, had to adopt European forms, principally, of course, Spanish ones. This fact is no less important for being simple and obvious. (qtd. in CC 2) In addition to the Spanish influence, African slaves brought their own cultural traditions whose roots also took hold on the island. Hence, unlike many of the colonies on the continental mainland in which the influence of native cultures continued to remain prevalent, the cultural influence of the Tano Indians in Cuba disintegrated over the colonial perio d. without a future. When the early illusions about auriferous wealth faded, the island quickl y became a subordinate and provisional land. One did not come to it for its own
$' CC 3). Many explorers like Hernn Corts and the Spanish treasure fleet came to Cuba, but only to use it as a port of call on their way somewhere else. In spite of the fact that Havana became one of the biggest cities in the New World, both Prez Firmat and Maach agree that colonial Cuba suffered from a es, not of CC culture was due to its lack of isolation and autonomy. to prove the opposit e. Prez Firmat claims that if Maach could not identify a Cuban style, it is because he underestimates the re definition of translation in The Cuban Condition does not include crossing the language barrier. In CC 4). When translating from one language to another, the product can only a pproximate the original. However, intralingual translations happen in a monolingual setting and the option of quoting or copying the original is always available. not to collapse into the original, in order to maintain its integrity as CC 5). Consequently, this practice of intralingual translations lead Cuban writers to res CC 6). This idea of
$( Maa ch saw Cuba as suffering from a continuous influx of cultural goods which CC 4). However, Prez Firmat identifies intralingual translations as being primarily exer cises which are driven by an insular consciousness; that is, exercises which must create distance from the inherited artistic and literary resources from Europe and Africa. This distance allows for the formation of a separate vernacular, one different from the mother language, and one that can be used to define a national voice. An example of this is seen in the criollismo movement in which writers combined European literary resources with those of other cultures. Prez Firmat further elaborates that criollist CC 8). In this manner, the Cuban writer does not simply reiterate Spanish literary resources and tropes, but tran slates them into something different, unique, and particularly Cuban. The Cuban Condition is to showcase how Cuban style is translational style. While his book deals only with Cuban writers of the twentieth century not discussed i n this thesis, I believe his assertion is foundational to understanding the nature and tendencies of Cuban American literary endeavors. Prez Firmat claims, especially sensitive to opp ortunities of translation, in both the geographical and linguistic senses of the word. Not having a native store of cultural goods, and conditioned by history to the ways of the transient rather than the settler, the Cuban writer has the habit of looking o utward,
$) of being on the lookout for opportunities for displacement, graphic and topographic. ( CC 4) Since Cuba does not have a significant aboriginal literary tradition, the Cuban writer must look outward in order to fashion something new. I believe this o utward glance and penchant for translation is also present in Cuban American writers. If Cuban writers, according to Prez Firmat, are conditioned by the ways of the transient, then the ce. Many of Although it could be argued that Jos Mart was a Cuban writer who was exiled in the United States and not a Cuban American; many exiles after the Castro r egime took control in 1959 had no choice but to become Cuban American. As a result, Cuban translational style was adapted by Cuban American writers and pop icons in order to create a new community off the island, one which utilizes both Cuban and American influences and which does, at many points, cross the language barrier into Spanglish. Inheriting the Cuban Condition: The One and a Half Generation and the Desi Chain Legacy The one and a half generation, to which Prez Firmat belongs, is categorized as persons born in Cuba who move to the Unites States as young adolescents. 12 As Prez LH 4). These individuals are between two cultures and also between two languages. For this section I will be using his """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 12 The full definition can be found in chapter 1.
$* book, Life on the Hyphen: The Cuban American Way (LH) to explore the ways in which the one and a half generation has shaped Cuban American cul ture. Prez Firmat begins by examining the life and influence of perhaps the first Cuban American to reach pop culture fame, Desi Arnaz. Arnaz was the counterpart to Lucille Ball from the hit television series I Love Lucy, and also the first person ever t o lead a conga line on American soil at a Miami Beach nightclub in 1937 ( LH 2). American gossip columnist Walter Winchell said that the conga line should instead be called the Desi Chain metaphor to also refer to the chain of Cuban American pop stars and artists that began with Arnaz. Famous links in the Desi chain include musicians Gloria Estefan and Willie Chirino, writer Oscar Hijuelos, and actors Steven Bauer and Andy Garci a just to name a few. What makes this group so interesting to Prez Firmat is his assertion that the one and a half generation is inherently good at translation because of the special circumstances in which they find themselves. Cuban sociologist Rubn Ru mbaut who distinctive cohort in that in many ways they are marginal to both the old and new worlds, and are fully part of neither of them (qtd. in LH 4). However, Prez F irmat sees the neither culture. The 1.5 individual is unique in that, unlike younger and older compatriots, he or she may actually find it possible to circulate within and through both the old and ne LH 4). It is from this position of being in the middle that the one and a halfers are able to easily collect and navigate resources from both cultures.
%+ However, it is a false assumption to believe that these bi cultured individuals are perfec tly balance between both Cuban and Anglo culture. Like many immigrants in adopted countries, they experience a constant tug of war between keeping tradition and adapting by translation. In the introduction of Life on the Hyphen, Prez Firmat presents his d from the same root as the Spanish traer to bring, designates convergence and continuity, a gathering together of elements according to underlying affinities or shared con ( LH 3). On the other hand, translation is a distancing mechanism. In its topographical meaning, translation is to move is to transmute, that any linguistic or cultural displacement necessarily entails some mutilation of the original. ( LH 3) Continuing his thesis in The Cuban Condition translation is a process that inherently requires distancing from the original, which the Cuban writer and artist is especially good at. Translation can also serve as a means to adapt and accommodate a new reality when tradition will not survive. Thus, while in The Cuban Condition Prez Firmat asserts that Cuban style is translational style, in Life on the Hyphen he tracks this Cuban penchant for translation and how it has been used and inherited by other links in the Desi chain in order to established, both topographically and linguistically, a distinctly Cuban American culture. Moreover, a condition that comes along with being part of the Cuban American legacy of the Desi chain is the condition of being a hyphenated individual. The
%! hyphenated individual must contend with two cultures or more that are more or less equally signific ant to their identity. Terms that are useful in this context are acculturation, transculturation, and biculturation. While acculturation is the acquisition of culture and transculturation is the passage from one culture to another, biculturation implies a balance between two cultures. Prez Firmat asserts that biculturation is characteristic of the one and a half generation. He states, In my usage, biculturation designates not only contact of cultures; in addition, it describes a situation where two cultur es achieve a balance that makes it difficult to determine which is the dominant and which is the or precarious, between two contributing cultures. ( LH 6) Firmat acknowledges that bein g a hyphenated individual can easily lead to an identity aqu nor all LH 7). Being a hyphenated individual involves a balancing act of cultural choices, neither fully belonging to one culture or t he next. This balancing act may lead to anxieties or problems associated with identity 13 However, what the one and a halfers lose by not having a stable cultural identity, they gain in their ability to translate from one culture to another. In this way, th eir creations become neither Cuban nor American, but a unique blend of both that can now be called Cuban American. In order to understand the translative qualities of the Cuban American community and how this quality helped to establish the community, Pr ez Firmat presents in his introduction what he sees as the three stages of an immigrant community. Many who left Cuba did not think they would be gone for long. However, as time passed and Cuba """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 13 Chapter three will examine the emotional bonds associated with bilingualism termed Tongue Ties.
%# moved further and further away, denial and disbelief settled i n. This denial of LH 7). This is seen in the topographical sense with the establish ment of the Cuban enclave of Little LH 7 ). This can be seen in the multitudes of in Havana but differ not only in location but in merchandise and food. Firmat cites Lisandro Prez and LH 8). He further elaborates b y citing Lisandro Prez who points out, undertaker. In between, you have little need of contact with the outside, non Cuban LH 8). However, with the passage of time the enclave begins to deteriorate. Children of Cuban parents start speaking English better than Spanish and start bringing home Anglo spouses. The fantasy of the creation of the Cuba of the past collapses and the second stage sets in. The second stag stare, to stand, it literally means not having a LH 10). While Cuba remains alive in the imaginations of exile Cubans, the imagination is not a home. The Cuban American individual walks through
%$ Little Havana and it may feel like home, but it is not. Denial of exile turns into a realization of their situatio n and a sense of up rootedness takes hold. Unlike the first Fortunately, the longer the stay in nowhere, the more it begins to feel like home. The third stage is institutio n, because in this stage the individual and/ or community set LH 10). It is in this third stage that Prez Firmat and I are most interested in because it is where translation becomes a locative gesture founded on hybridity. A perfect example of this is Little Havana, a topographic translation. It tries to be a replica of Havana, but the inevitable distance from the original (both in terms of actual physical distance and content) has created something uniquely foreign feeling yet still American. The establishment of Little Havana perfectly encapsul ates the idea of insular consciousness that Prez Firmat elaborates on in The Cuban Condition. The Cuban American community, whether deliberately or not, has had to contend with the numerous distances between Havana and Little Havana. In the process of est ablishing Cuban businesses and neighborhoods in the United States, they have created translations that may have foundations in Cuban culture, but that include influences from both Anglo and Pan American cultures. Thus, the purpose of Life on the Hyphen is to examine how translation is exercised by Cuban Americans and how those resulting cultural products form a cultural map of Cuban America.
%% Que Pasa U.S.A.? Although Prez Firmat spends a great deal of space in Life on the Hyphen treating Desi Arnaz and his monumental impact on the way Americans view Cuban Americans, for the purpose of this thesis it is enough to say that he was the first link. I Love Lucy ran from October 1951 until May 1957 and the follow up se ries The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour ran from 1957 through 1960, just barely overlapping with the 1959 communist revolution in Cuba ( LH 25). Consequently, the portrayal of Cuba on I Love Lucy always seemed to ldhood was far from ideal as his family fled Cuba after father was jailed following the 1933 revolution led by Fulgencio Batista and all their property was confiscated. The family eventually fled to Miami when Arnaz was a teenager ( LH 53). In spite of this perpetual tropical resort and, most notably, free of problematic politics. Further down the Desi chain, the successor of the I Love Lucy show is Qu Pasa USA? This show was aired on WPBT, a PBS member station in M iami, FL from 1977 in all fifty states and in other countries becoming so popular it became a syndicated series (Delgado 48). The show was made possible by a grant from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) for the creation of television programs aimed at and created by minority groups. The HEW required that the show be bilingual and the ratio set began at 60 percent Spanish and 40 percent English when South Florida was the intended audience. However, as the show became popular and broadcast nationally, the ratio changed and became 60 percent English and 40 percen t Spanish (Delgado 48). What
%& was truly groundbreaking about Qu Pasa USA? was the fact that not only did English and Spanish receive more or less equal attention, but characters would often meld the two languages together into Spanglish. Furthermore, the show dealt with the tensions facing Cuban families in terms of the balancing acts between keeping tradition and translating cultural habits to adapt to life in the United States. Qu Pasa USA? follows the life of a typical Cuban American family, the Pea s: of Little Havana. Carmen is the only Pea born in the United States although her broth er conservative Cuban family. The grandparents do not speak English and are adamant about upholding traditions. Pepe and Juana speak English but with a very heavy acc ent and have to deal with, albeit reluctantly, new Anglo customs that their Americanized children bring into their home. What is most relevant about this show to this thesis is the ways in which Qu Pasa USA? portrays the multigenerational tensions that arise within Cuban American families especially in terms of language and acculturation. A wonderful example of these tensions is seen in episode 15 (season 2 episode 6) Citizenship episode begins with Juana and Carmen cleaning out som e cabinets because the family finally has a little bit of extra money to redecorate the house. Carmen is pleased about the house finally beginning to feel like home, however Pepe reassures her that just because they are fixing their house does not mean Mia mi will be their home. He, like many other
%' Cuban exiles, believes that Miami is only a temporary stop and he and his family will soon return to Cuba. Soon afterwards, his son Joe enters the kitchen and he tells the family the only way he would be able to get a scholarship in order to go to college would be to become an American citizen. Furthermore, since Joe is under the age of eighteen, in order to listo hacerme grin go 14 what Prez Firmat sees as the first stage of an immigrant community, the stage of denial cannot Casi ni me recuerdo de Cuba 15 16 The grandparents and parents often become disapp anglicisms. Pepe then tries to shame Joe by calling him a traitor and reminding him that his great between father an d son shows the audience the generational and cultural gaps in the family. Juana becomes furious at Pepe. She and the grandparents decide to become citizens and they begin taking a citizenship course to prepare for the test. However, the grandparents do n 80 percent chance that when they are asked a yes or no question, the answer will be yes. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 14 15 I hardly even remember Cuba. 16 no, or Spanish
%( It Carmen asked her about prostitution, not the constitution. The language barrier between the Spanish only grandparents and the rest of the family often creates tensions as the grandparents frequently complain about not being included in conversations when t hey take place in English. The hopelessness of this situation becomes even more hopeless when Pepe tells them they would have to renounce all their loyalties to Cuba. The grandparents are shocked and remarked that not one told them about this, which is not entirely true; they just could not understand what was being said to them. Joe and Ca rmen are upset that Pepe has foiled their plans about turning Adela and Antonio into American citizens; nevertheless Juana is still going through the process. Pepe is confused as to why Juana would ever want to be a citizen when she should be content with him, the family, and their pretty house. Juana, however, tells Pepe about the refuses to become an American citizen, he will have no vote in this country and no say jus t like he had no say in communist Cuba. What are played out beautifully in this episode are the tensions between each generation in the family and the pressures to assimilate. It is certain that the grandparents will never become citizens. Although they w ere into the idea of becoming citizens in that they cannot speak English and refuse to renounce Cuba assuredly signifies they will never become citizens. Carmen is alr eady a citizen since she was born in Miami and Joe
%) wants to become a citizen not only because he could qualify for scholarships but also because he considers America to be his home. The parents are presented as being in the middle, members of the one and a half generation although they might have immigrated out of Cuba as young adults thus too old to be considered one and a halfers. While Pepe is presented as being stuck in the first stage of denial and slowly progressing into the second phase (the phase of destitution in which the dream of returning to Cuba is fading with each passing year), Juana is prepared to accept the new reality of living in Miami for What I believe is one of the reasons for Qu Pasa USA? original comedy, is the way in which the show related to American immigrant families whatever their ethnicity or race. Qu Pasa USA? plays out the American dream in the activities of the Pea family and their stru ggles to find success in the United States. This show also addresses the linguistic reality of the many multi lingual and multi cultural communities across the United States in which language choice and language fluency may become indicative of attitudes r egarding assimilation and tradition. Borderlands/ La Frontera Gloria Anzalda (1942 2004) was born in the Rio Grande Valley of Southern Texas on a ranch settlement called Jesus Mara. Both of her parents, Urbano and Amalia Anzalda, were migrant farmers who had no formal high school education. Gloria, along with the rest of her family lived and worked the fields at Jesus Mara until the family moved to Hargill, Texas. However, as a family of migrant workers, the Anzaldas
%* Thus, her father Urbano decided to leave the family in Hargill in order for all the children to go to school regularly while he continued working as a migrant worker. Although Gloria stopped being a migrant worker at a young age, she still continued to work in the fields of the Valley until she received her B.A. from Pan American University in 1969. Her experiences as a campesina 17 influenced her latter career as a teacher for migrant children in Indianan and in Texas. She received her M.A. in English and Education from th of May in 2004 while working on her doctoral dissertation due to complications from diabetes. The University of California Santa Cruz awarded her a Ph. D in Literature posthumously in 2005 ("Gloria E. Anzalda"). Gloria Anzalda was a self identified ch icana tejana lesbian dyke feminist writer poet cultural theorist. All these hyphens tell of a person who not only inherited a multifaceted identity, but negotiated and choose them as well. Anzalda is pertinent to this research because her work, Borderland s/ La Frontera showcases the dangers and Life on the Hyphen By pairing these two authors, I will showcase the similarities between Mexican American culture and Cuban American cultur e as both representatives of Spanish speaking ethnic cultures in contact with Anglo culture in the United States. In addition, by comparing these two authors I will highlight the very important differences between LH 6). """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 17 Farm worker.
&+ Defining Borderlands In Borderlands/ La Frontera location. While Anzalda is specifically referring to the Texas U.S. Southwest / Mexican border in her book, her definition of what constitutes a borderland has a wider scope. She states, the Borderlands are physically present wherever two or more cultures edge each other, where pe ople of different races occupy the same territory, where under, lower, middle and upper classes touch, where the space between two individuals shrinks with intimacy. (19) For Anzaldu, borderlands are the result of cultural or social tensions between two p arties where their differences become conflicts. Some of these differences include race, class, gender, and language. She further goes on to state, Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition. (25) What is most significant in the way Anzalda define s borderland is her insistence on the Native American heritage, the people from Aztln who lived in what is now the American Southwest. These Cochise Indians left Aztl n in 1168 A.D. and migrated into Mexico and Central America to become the Aztecs (26). When the Spaniards came and conquered the native peoples of Mexico in the beginning of the sixteenth century a new
&! race was born, a mestizo race, a Chicano Mexican Amer ican race. Whites, Indians, and mestizos began to explore and conquer more of the Americas, moving further up in the process. Thus, many Chicanos returned back to their ancestral homeland in Aztln. However, many means have been taken by the United States government over the years to make Chicanos feel like aliens on their own ancestral land. On February 2, 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed and it left more than 100,000 Mexicans and their territories were annexed over to the United States (29 ). From this point on, Anzalda vividly tells of the atrocities and injustices suffered by Mexican Americans at the hands of Anglos, from losing their farmlands to innumerable hate crimes. What was once their rightful homeland was turned into a turbulent a nd often violent borderland. Although, the Rio Grande currently designates the border between Mexico and the United States, what really has transformed this area into a borderland was the creation ism. Anzalda reminds her Aztln, before the arrival of Hernn Corts. Violent divisions which were laid upon her home have marginalized and hindered Chicanos in the Unite d States. Furthermore, many Chicanos in keeping with their tradition of migrations and long walks die in their attempt to return to the promise land of Aztln, now the United States, when crossing the border. To a certain extent, the plight of Cuban Ameri can balseros 18 is similar to those of Mexican immigrants, but with numerable exceptions. Although Cubans have been residing in what is now the United States since the founding of San Agustn, Florida in 1565, there has never been any indigenous Cuban land i n the United States. As stated previously, Cuban people come from an exogenous mix of heritages, mainly Spanish and """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 18 Cuban refugees that try to cross the Florida Straits on bo ats or rafts
African. However, like their Mexican counterparts, Cuban refugees risk their lives crossing the ninety miles separating the island from the mainland in hopes of achieving a better future for themselves and their families. Furthermore, what is the most striking difference between Mexican and Cuban immigrants has to do with the racial and political attitudes in the United States. The first exil es coming out of Cuba soon after 1959 were for the most part wealthy upper and middle class families that lost their businesses and lands when Castro nationalized their properties (M. Torres 138). Unlike American political resistance to Mexican immigration the U.S. fully encouraged Cuban migration out of Cuba and even set up special programs for Cuban for exiles (all of whom were given refugee status). This was due to a U.S. policy of obtaining Cuban refugees as a means to gather resistance against communist government, physically and symbolically. As Cubans left Cuba, they took with them human resources that the U.S. hoped would weaken the survival of the new government. According to the Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States: Sociology government set up special programs that included food, clothing, medical care, and cash orres 136). Cuban refugee found it much easier than most Latin American refugees to establish communities in the United States. Consequently, Cuban refugees began to be used as symbols of anti communism. Fidel Castro, in the early days of the revolution s in M. Torres 137). The monumental ideological opposition between capitalism and
&$ communism has divided Cubans from one another, f rom their homes, and has imposed on them presumptions of their political affinities based on which side of the Florida Straits they live on. The divisions based on political ideology have gotten so ingrained into the minds of Americans and Cubans that it i s almost impossible to separate the Cuban person from politics. In addition, the borderland between Cuba and the United States has divided the Cuban people so intensely that many Cuban exiles discredit Communist Cuba from do Pau Llosa (as seen in chapter 1). After the first wave of Cuban immigration, Cubans of other classes tried to come to the United States no matter the dangers. On October 31, 1980 thousands of Cubans left the port of Mariel for the United States (M. Tor res 143). The Cuban government in an effort to taint the reception of the refugees in the United States included a number of disorders. After the Mariel Boatlift, Cuba n immigration to the United States came in the form of balseros In 1995 the United States amended the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act to include the U.S. Cuba Immigration Accord policy, which is most commonly known as the Wet Foot, Dry Foot policy. This policy allows Cuban refugees who make it to U.S. soil (dry foot) to remain in the United States and also allows them to apply for permanent residence after one year. However, if Cuban refugees are intercepted at sea (wet foot) they are sent back to Cuba or to a t hird country (Morley). However, this policy does not extend to Haitian refugees or other ethnic groups. Therefore, the resistance present in the Cuban American community due t o the fact that the United States has used Cuban
&% regime. In addition, I believe that race might also play a factor as the first waves of Cuban immigrants coming to the United States were mostly white and came from a professional class. However, this is not to say that all Cubans refugees were racially white although 53). According to the Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States: History ; One estimate is that blacks and mulattos constituted only 6 percent of Cubans in the United States several years after the revolution, though this proportion increased with the Mariel Boatlift of 1980 which included between 20 to 50 percent Cubans of color. (Poyo 316) A reason for this low number of Cuban refugees of color might be attributed to the fact that a high percentage of Afro Cubans were marginalized in Cuban societ y and thus face economic hardships. With fewer resources, Afro Cubans were unable to make the of color who asked for exit visas faced greater obstacles and hostility fr om government Cuban exile was one of a victim of communism, moreover, a white victim of communism. White Cuban American stars like Desi Arnaz and the Pea family may hav e contributed to this impression.
&& The most important reason why I included discussion on the differences between U.S. policies towards Cuban and Mexican immigrants is because these differences, I believe, inform the works of both Anzalda and Prez Firmat. The most important Borderlands Life on the Hyphen is their differentiating attitudes towards the status of their culture and the role of the United States. Anza At the forefront of her contemplations are the dangers of rape and murder that face Chicanos and Chicanas crossing the border into a hostile Anglo country. What she is makes reso undingly clear is the fact that the land of her ancestors no longer belongs to her in the eyes of the United States and the sense of exploitation and anger is palpable throughout her text. This is radically different from the perspective of Prez Firmat. In the Cuban tradition, the ancestral homeland is not Cuba but Spain and/or Africa because not much of the indigenous culture survived to impact the Cuban character. In addition, the nzalda mainly because his heritage seems to be White Hispanic. Also, since the first wave of immigrants from Cuban tended to be on the whole very white, the Cuban immigrant has been treated very differently from their Chicano counterpart and I believe thi s greatly influences why Anzalda stance towards oppressive Anglo culture is much more hostile Cuban American community is not such a crisis producing r eaction deals with the fact
&' that he feels that Cuban American culture is appositional and not oppositional. He recognizes that most models between majority and minority cultures tend to be oppositional in which one culture conquers the other. This model st ill applies to anti American sentiments on the island and to the political relationship between Cuba and America. Nevertheless, he believes that the experiences of every day Cuban Americans e ( LH 6). He seems to be claiming that the everyday Cuban Americans have come to terms with cooperating with the American Anglo culture, albeit reluctantly. The symbol that Prez Firmat uses for Cuban American culture is that of the Cuban ajiaco taken from Cuban ethnologist Fernando Ortiz. An ajiaco is a traditional Cuban soup made up of many different ingredients such as meats, lime, corn, malanga, yuca, nam, boniato, and pumpkin. Ajiaco is basically a soup made from ingredients that are available, c ontinuously being eaten then replenished with more of whatever is found. It is a soup in constant addition. Fernando Ortiz used the symbol of the ajiaco to describe the African, European, and other exogenous elements of Cuban culture. Prez Firmat, in a s imilar way, adapts this symbol to represent the Cuban American condition. He states, ca LH 16). It is important here to point out that Anzalda also supports multifaceted identities; she constructs her identity from the cultures she inherited and from the ideological stances she believes in. What I think is touched upon more in Borderlands Life on the Hyphen is the importance of
&( choice and rejection. Anzalda actively rejects certain aspects of her cultures, su ch as the machismo prevalent in Latin cultures and homonormativity. Her responsibility in her ods. What I want is an accounting with all three cultures white, Mexican, Indian. I want the freedom American individual can choose his or her identity, namely through tr anslation. He states, I realize that my views will probably strike some as unpatriotic and even assimilationist, but it is not assimilation that I am talking about. Cuban American culture heightens and draws out certain tendencies inherent in mainland island culture most prominently, the tendency towards ( LH 16) Firmat, although not framing his argument as rebellion, nevertheless is in agreement with Anzalda. When tradition no lon ger works for the individual, the answer is to change it by translating it into something else.
&) Chapter Three Linguistic Identity: Bilingual Bliss Bilingual Blues Language and Identity Much about a person can be revealed by what they say, or perhaps more about what they cannot or will not say. This chapter focuses on the socio linguistic and book Tongue Ties (TT) will be useful for this discussion as he examines the emotional bonds, what he calls tongue ties, of bilingual writers and their varying relationships and attitudes towards English and Spanish. I will also supplement this discussion with Bilingualism She is a Merton Professor of English Language at the University of Oxford and her book deals with the sociolinguistics and phycholinguistics of bilingualism. Issues that will be highlighted include language loyalty, mother tongues, fluency, code switching, diglossia, and ethnic identity. Latter in Bilingual Blues (BB) will be analyzed as it will provide a literary example of some of the tensions that ar ise when bilingualism is in use.
&* What is Bilingualism? Before this discussion proceeds much further, I believe it is important to address the difficulties in defining bilingualism and who can and cannot be considered a bilingual Bilingualism scholars in this field of linguistics. The reason why there are many different variations of this definition is due to the fact that bilingualism has often been understo od in terms of degrees of proficiency. On the higher end the scale, bilingualism is defined by native like control over two languages. In the middle, bilingualism begins when a speaker can produce meaningful sentences in the other language. At the low end, an individual might not have any productive control of a language but is able to understand some utterances of it; this has been termed passive or receptive bilingualism (11). This scale, while helpful in measuring proficiency, does not take into account another aspect that can be used to measure bilingualism, emotional attachment (which will be discussed latter on). In my opinion, the extremes ends of this proficiency scale raise problematic issues. On the low end of the scale, many speakers maybe consi dered bilinguals because they may recognize a few key words in other languages such as words associated with food or greetings. Also, words that are borrowed from other languages that have been thoroughly assimilated into the main language must be taken in to account. Therefore, I believe the further one travels down the scale towards absolute minimal bilingualism (solely based on proficiency) does not prove helpful as it would apply to a vast majority of speakers who consider themselves monolinguals. Howeve r, a few degrees above
'+ absolute bilingualism are individuals that may have a very limited proficiency in the other language but may possibly have strong emotional ties to that other language. They might have either lost the ability to speak it well or hav e been removed from that language community in childhood before reaching high proficiency. This proves my assertion that proficiency alone does not cover the wide spectrum of factors that On the high end of the scale, I believe it might be impossible for a speaker to have the same relationship with each of their multiple languages, not in terms of proficiency but in when, how, and with who they use it. Prez Firmat is critical of this idea, te rmed The two languages may not be equally talkative. At times one language speaks so fast or aggressively that the other is reduced to silence; at times each language politely waits its turn to speak; at times they inte rrupt each other. Because of the asymmetry of these encounters, none of the writers been raised bilingually, the relation of languages is usually not symmetrical. The notion of balanced bilingualism or equilingismo is as much of a pedagogical fiction as that of bilingualism without pain. Bilingualism tends to be unbalanced, asymmetrical. Again, I am not talking about fluency but about affect. ( TT 8) One of the reasons why Firmat is criti cal of balanced bilingualism is that is presupposes a frequency of use and political and cultural contexts. Prez Firmat quotes Jacqueline
'! Amati Mehler and her col leagues from their book The Babel of the Unconscious: Mother Tongues and Foreign Languages in the Psychoanalytic Dimension to further support his argument. Amati Mehler states, consistently fluent in two or more languages, is a conventional abstraction. In fact, the linguistic endowment of an individual is not a solid and stable system but, rather, an ever changing constellation in which the supremacy of one language over the other, the inte rnal hierarchy, and the absolute and relative degree of mastery, vary continuously over time and space. (qtd. in TT 9) In short, the ideal of balance bilingualism does not take into account various external and sage of their languages. For example, location of the speaker is important as this influences their exposure to the other language. From Little Havana where the two lang uages are in constant engagement than a bilingual speaker in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where the two languages hardly come into contact. Politics and culture are also important influences on speakers. English only initiatives in education in the United S tates propagate the cultural value of English over other languages. In addition, languages can also be representative of countries at war with each other which the speaker might internalize as a linguistic civil war within themselves. Speakers may begin to apply these value systems to their usage of their languages. Furthermore, language can be said to be comprised of three forms: speaking, reading, and
'# these three forms. For example, in immigrant families in the United States one language such as Spanish might be spoken within the home without much exposure or training in its grammar. However, English is learned at school with a heavy emphasis across all three forms. Roma her investigation. Mackey asserts, There are four questions which a description of bilingualism must address: degree, function, alternation, and interference. The question of degree measure proficiency... Function focuses on the uses a bilingual speaker total repertoire. Alt ernation treats the extent to which the individual alternates between the languages. Interference has to do with the extent to which the individual manages to keep the languages separate, or whether they are fused. (qtd. in Romaine 12) This model provides a multifaceted lens which takes into account more than just proficiency. However, it is impossible to analyze one of these factors without taking into habits and als o can be useful in determining interference. Other factors including location and cultural context affect all four of these aspects. I will use this model in my analysis of Bilingual Blues especially focusing on alternations between languages like code swi tching and diglossia.
'$ Code Switching and Diglossia Other important concepts related to bilingualism that are pertinent to this thesis are code switching and diglossia. Code switching can be understood by using two methods, analyzing the syntactic and gra mmatical restrictions of code switching and determining the pragmatic uses of code switching. This section will briefly cover both methods in order to apply them to Bilingual Blues. Romaine uses Gumperz definition of code speech belonging to two different grammatical systems or sub 121). In order for a juxtaposed speech utterance to be considered as co de switching, the utterances must be tied together prosodically, semantically, and syntactically. Code switching can also happen in monolingual settings when there are different varieties of the same language in an utterance; for example, switching between standard English and slang English. There are three different types of code switching: tag switching, inter sentential, and intra sentential. Tag an utterance which is otherwise entirely in Oye Pero inserted in multiple parts of a monolin gual utterance. Inter sentential code switching happens at the boundaries between clauses, where one clause is in a different language from the surrounding clauses. Romaine further sentential switching can be thought of as requiring gre ater fluency in both languages than tag switching since major portions of the utterance must conform to
'% 123). A sample of this can be found in an example by y termin in esp aol Finally, intra sentential code switching happens within clauses or sentence sentential switching involves, arguably, the greatest divertido about eso ? Me parece about that? I find it stupid). This type of code switching involves many lingui stic constraints that only the very fluent bilinguals maybe able to navigate because it involves Sankoff and Poplack which holds that code switching will tend to occur at points where the surface structures of the two languages does not violate a syntactic rule of either language. That is, code switching will tend to occur at points where the surface structures of the two languages map onto each other. This means that a language switch can take place only at boundaries common to both languages, and switching cannot occur between any two sentence elements unless they are normally ordered in the same way. (126) In Spanish and English, switches can occur between nouns and ar ticles (for example, un cat, a gato ) but not between nouns and adjectives. A perfect example of this can be seen Su lugar favorito cannot be code s u favorito spot, *his favorito lugar his favorito spot would result in ungrammatical combinations of constituents in
'& clauses (Noun Adjective) and the reverse is t rue in English, the adjective comes before the noun (Adjective Noun). Pragmatically, code switching can serve various functions. Romaine cites a study switching most commonly discussed as being controlled by components of the speech switching in this instance is dependent on topic and speake r; for example, whether an individual is speaking to someone about their favorite reality T.V. show or a seminal work of literature in a specific canon. The other type of code switching function can be understood as metaphorical switching. Metaphorical s Rather than claiming that speakers use language in response to a fixed, predetermined set of prescriptions, it seems more reasonable to assume situational norms, to communicate metaphoric information about how they intend their words to be understood. (qtd. in Romaine 161 162) suggests that many sp eakers who code switching are doing so in order to achieve a certain effect in their audience. This proves interesting when applied to bilingual literature as it might provide a beneficial lens in determining how code switching affects different language readerships. Authors who code switch biling ually do so for many reasons and each reason is
'' gratifying in different ways to different language readerships. Lourdes Torres in her outlines some of these results. In Latino literature in the United States, which tends to be English dominate; writers may present easily assessable Spanish when an English readership is in mind. Food, places, and common nouns are presented in Spanish, oft en italicized, to cater to the limitations of the English readership. Another option is reiteration ; what is said in Spanish will be repeated in English. These strategies while helpful to English readership perpetuate mainstream expectations of the Latino/ a text in that they can make the text exotic and allow the reader to believe that s/he is interacting with and appropriating the linguistic Other, while in reality reader does not have to leave the comfortable realm of his/her own complacent monolingualis m. The monolingual is catered to and the bilingual reader must endure redundant references. ( L. Torres 78) What can be gathered from this statement is that readership can be assumed by the types of code switching, and how accessible or difficult it is, pr esented in a text. In addition, different readerships can experience different engagements with the bilingual text. While an English readership (as stated by Torres) might find some Latino texts exotic, for the writer and the Spanish readership they are fa miliar and hit close to home. What I find interesting about these investigations is the assertion that code switching can showcase high competence in bilinguals. Romaine asserts that, Although it is popularly believed by bilingual speakers themselves that another it is often the case that switching occurs most often for items
'( fluent bilinguals is thus in principle n o different from style shifting for the monolingual. The bilingual just has a wider choice at least when he or she is speaking with bilingual speakers. In effect, the entire second language system is at the disposal of the code switcher (143). The purpose of this discussion on code switching is mainly to identify the various levels of code switching that maybe operating in Bilingual Blues both syntactically and pragmatically bilingual switch primarily because of lack of fluency. While instances of borrowing do happen when speakers need to fill in gaps in their utterances, her investigations helps booster the importance of choice in regards to language mixing instead of a discourse assuming language deficiency. Equally as illuminating to this study is the concept of diglossia. Romaine relationship between two or more varieties of the same l anguage in use in a speech qtd. in Romaine 33). These varieties can be divided into two categories, High varieties (H) and Low varieties (L). Examples of H are standard Spanish while slang or vernacular Spanish would be c onsidered L. A speaker chooses between these varieties depending on the situation. Thus, standard Spanish (H) would be considered appropriate in situations such as political speeches, university papers, and in formal social gatherings. Slang or vernacular Spanish (L) might be appropriate in conversations among friends, music, and folk literature.
') When diglossia is applied to bilingualism, each language is said to reside in bilingual speakers place each of their languages in various domains based on who they are talking to, where they are, and what effect they wish to achieve. A common example of this can be found in Hispanic immigrant communities in the United States were Spanish is reserved for the home, conversations among friends and family, and perhaps religion. English, on the other hand, might be reserved for the work place, scho ol, and general interactions outside the Spanish speech community. Notwithstanding, these designations are not definitive. Languages may switch domains as the speaker moves in space and time. However, these domains remain, for the most part, stable as they are Tongue Ties Thus far, this discussion has presented some linguistic tools and terms in order to discuss bilingualism. Another way that prov es useful in studying the effects of Tongue Ties. Tongue Ties is a study on the effects of Spanish and English on a group of writers including George Santayana, Pedro Salinas, Luis Cernuda, Calvert Casey, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Mara Luisa Bombal, Sandra Cisneros, Richard Rodriquez, and Judith Ortiz Cofer. Although this is quite a heterogeneous group of writers, Prez Firmat claims rs are shaped, in whole or in part; by a linguistic family romance that pits against each other the competing claims and
'* TT 5). While most studies of bilingualism focus on linguistic and cultural issues, Prez Firmat is more interested in the emotional responses and bonds writers have with their tongues. More specifically, Prez Firmat is analyzing may be present in their works. He a sserts that this relationship may play itself out in three different ways: the intrusion [of English] led to the abandonment or supersession of the mother tongue (Santayana, Rodriguez, Cisneros, Ortiz Cofer), in others, to its fierce reinforcement (Salina s, Cernuda), and still in others, to an anguished alternation between languages (Casey, Cabrera Infante, and Bombal). ( TT 5) Each of these three outcomes originates from the same interlacing and associations between language, culture, and life events. Som relationship to language include (but are not limited to) growing up, falling in love, acceptance or rejection from a certain community, education, and for some, enduring exile. Thus, while bilingualism might be pe rceived by some as beneficial and oftentimes an advantage, that is not always the case. I hope to showcase in this chapter how diverse languages on separate emotional regis ters or domains. loyalty and nationalism. In the introduction to Tongue Ties Turgenev which states, a writer who did not write only in his mother tongue was a thief and a pig (qtd. in
(+ TT 1). Although Turgenev wrote this in German and he knew many other European languages, his statement is indicative of the opinion that language is a form of cultural property and to an extent, national property. However, the practice of writers writing in other languages was not always contested, rather it was the norm. As Prez Firmat points out, A sixteenth century neo Latin poet felt few qualms a bout not using his mother tongue for literary composition; even writers who worked primarily in the vernacular also wrote, without apparent damage to their self esteem, in other languages: Milton composed Italian sonnets, Garcilaso wrote Latin odes. It was not until the rise of modern nation states that native languages became national languages, and thus a privileged cultural possession. ( TT 1) and cosmopolitanism. Yet on the other hand, fledgling nations need writers to produce works in what is considered the national language in order to legitimize and authenticate production of a rt and literature by its citizens. Therefore, writers may experience pressure literary tradition and canons. An example of the application of nationalism on language c an clearly be seen in the Cuban American 1.5 generation. One of the main reasons why Carolina Hospital calls her anthology of Cuban American writers Los Atrevidos risks taken by these Cuban American writers lies in their usa ge of English. Because most
(! of these authors write primarily in English, they are automatically dismissed and of these writers consider themselves Cuban writers, their us e of English complicates the perceived authenticity of their work as part of a tradition of Cuban literature. As a result, responses of some writers in regards to their national, cultural, and linguistic identity, especially in the case of exile. This then raises the question: Can Cuban American writers be loyal to their Cuban heritage and to the Spanish language in English? The answer to this question may, in fact, be yes. The ev idence to support this claim may be found in theories regarding mother tongues. A mother tongue is often defined as the language one is born into and learns first. However, many individuals grow up in households and communities where multiple languages may be considered mother tongues. Language kinships for polyglots may also include father tongues, sister tongues, even lover tongues as different languages may be associated with different persons. Mother tongues might not even correspond to maternal feelings in a speaker although the speaker may still consider that specific language a mother tongue simply because they learned it first. Firmat states, many nonlinguistic factors, some nearly impossible to detect, shape a his or her dilogo de las lenguas In the course of their lives, bilinguals shape and are shaped by their own language families. ( TT 3) Some of these nonlinguistic factors include preexisting notions or opinions about language use, location, and politics.
(# In addition, it is possible for one not to be fluent in his or hers mother tongue. their primary tongue. This is simply with mother tongues. She states, Given the fact that the competence in more than one language is rarely ever equally distributed across all domains of life, many bilinguals might know one language better because they have been schooled in it, yet feel stronger affective attachment to another language which was learned and used in the home. Thus, the language an individual identifies with is often referred to as the mother tongue. (22) Prez Firmat also agrees with Romaine about the value of affection over competence. He cognitive in nature, tongu TT 4). identity. Thus, I believe it is possible to be faithful to Spanish in English. However, few things can compare to the self reproach experienced by those bilinguals who are not fluent or capable of speaking in their mother tongue; this can raise anxieties or negative feelin Borderlands/ La Frontera about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity I am my language.
($ acknowledges arou nd eight languages that she speaks: Standard English, working class and slang English, standard Spanish, standard Mexican Spanish, North Mexican Spanish dialect, Chicano Spanish, Tex Mex, and Pachuco (77). Many of her languages including Chicano, Tex Mex, and Pachuco are outside mainstream American culture. Consequently, many of these tongues are considered illegitimate or bastardized versions speaking Chicano Spanish have inte because we internalize how language has been used against use by the dominate culture, language in such a profound way that speakers often times begin policing themselves and others in order to conform to standardized languages. A useful way to understand the pressures affecting bilinguals between their f loyalty; used and expanded by Prez Firmat to support his insistence on the complexity of tongue ties. In or alternative object of loyalty that competes for the s TT 3). This second the bilingual (or multilingual) subject is caught between languages that may affect him or rt, is that tongue ties are a complicated condition that may arise from a variety of different internal and external factors. However, language and more specifically speech, is constantly evolving. Standard English or Spanish cannot fully express the reali ties of their different speakers all around
(% assertion that different tongues are representations of living communities. She states, For a people who are neither Sp anish nor live in a country in which Spanish is the first language; for a people who live in a country in which English is the reigning tongue but who are not Anglo; for a people who cannot entirely identify with either standard (formal, Castillian) Spanis h nor standard English, what recourse is left to them but to create their own language? A language which they can connect their identity to, one capable of communicating the realities and values true to themselves a language with terms that are neither esp aol ni ingles but both. We speak a patios, a forked tongue, a variation of two languages. (77) What is most important about her quote is her insistence that language must reflect its ed States South West, Miami is a borderland of languages. It is futile to think those individuals who live in multilingual communities must conform to standardized systems of speech when their realities happen quite equally in both languages, often times s imultaneously. Bilingual Blues; Poems from 1981 1994 Bilingual Blues is a collection of poems by Prez Firmat that experiments with the mixing of both English and Spanish in poetry. His collection is divided into three sections with each section featur
(& 19 Betania in 1989. Although each section does have a dominate language, some poems have a high usage of code switching and often times the monolingual poems exhibit various levels of digloss ia. For the purpose of this thesis, I will look at four poems language and culture anxietie s 5). The speaker begins by revealing that he does indeed place English and Spanish in different domains, albeit unwillingly. English is his vessel for communication, although he wishes it was Spanish. He might not be able to communicate in Spanish because he does not possess enou gh fluency or the confidence to do so. Therefore, the anxiety presented here centers around his fear that English will tarnish the sincerity of his dedication, which exist in the domain of Spanish but must be translated into English. It is also interesting to note that lines one is useful here as it provides a model that can be used to visualize the tensions between the speaker (I) is caught between English and his intended audience (you) which may very well be Spanish. Nothing in the poem suggests to me that the intended audience of the speaker is human. Thus, I am Spanish language. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 19 Misunderstandings
(' My assumption is, if not overtly confirmed, is uncontested in the concluding lines 12). The linguistic loyalties of this speaker are divided between Spanish which holds his heart, and English which dominates his tongue. The speaker however has no choice but to remain in English since it is his primary mode of communication. It seems that this speaker believes he cannot be faithful to Spanish in English. Yet, his sincerity clearly demonstrates his attachment to Spanish which I believe does not discredit his dedication. Another English dominate poem in this collection whose subject deals with the limen is the threshold of a physiological or psychological response. In this poem, the ken away from a Spanish speech community and introduced to an English speech community. The poem begins, We took David back up just when he was beginning to learn to speak, to say agua and mam and galletica 20 (Miami es mar y calor y comida 21 .) Just when h e was on the threshold, at the limen, perinatal to his past, to me, """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 20 water, mama, cookie 21 ocean, heat, food
( ( 10) avid, and his relocation from Miami to North Carolina where he became a professor at Duke University. It is highly typical for Cuban exile writers to engage in writing that relates to their historical realities because the condition of exile changes every facet of their lives. subsequent relocations that move the speaker and his fami ly further away from their original home and further away from Spanish; From Cuba, to Miami, to North Carolina. This displacement motif is highly present throughout Bilingual Blues and common among exile writers belonging to the first generation. The unint ended consequence of this relocation has affected his child ability to speaking in Sp few improper names like El Farito, Chirino, and Dadeland 22 which is not English/ now, 14). The first set of Spanish terms used in this text (agua, mama, and galletica) is relatively accessible to a monolingual audience. The terms are limited to nouns and represent an accurate example of some first words a Spanish speaking child would learn. I do not believe these words are too difficult for an English reader but since these words are not reiterated in English, an English reader might not """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 22 These terms are Miami specific. El Farito is a Cuban restaurant, Willie Chirino is a Cuban American musician, and Dadeland is an area of Miami (it could also specifically refer to Dadeland Mall).
() decipher all of them. However, the next round words (El Farito, Chirino, and Dadeland) are proper nouns referring to places and people in and from Miami. The speaker refers to them as improper names perhaps because they might have been transformed from their original English into terms that have become assimilated into the Cuban community in Miami. I would categorize this code switching as transactional because the switch corre sponds to topics which reside in separate domains; those topics are Cuba, Miami, and childhood. Furthermore, the employments of these terms have two different affects depending on who is reading. For an English readership and a bilingual Spanish readership not familiar with the Cuban community in Miami, these terms serve to make the text exotic. However, for Prez Firmat and those from Miami, these terms make the text familiar. Thus, the code on th moved him up and inland away/ from warmth and water,/ knotting his tongue my tongue relocation as a form of linguistic and cultural death; a situation that will soon prove complicated for David in terms of id encroachment of English and American culture is a very common concern among first generation immigrants. These parents fear their kids will grow up with cultural loyalties different from theirs. Unfortu nately, this cannot be prevented. As generations pass, the link to Cuba will become more sentimental than direct and the Cuban community will become more ethnic than exilic.
(* con Son is a genre of music which is said to have originated in the Oriente (Eastern ) province of Cuba. It is a hybrid genre of music some s sucu, and chang. Because the son is so rich in extra musical associations, others, especially Danilo Orozco, have characteriz ed it as a quintessential Manuel 185) Son music can be considered an example of what Prez Firmat considers translational Cuban style. From multiple multicultural influences, artists, musicians, and writers have created a di Furthermore, Prez Firmat utilizes emphasis on rhythmic patterns to liken the poem to a musical phrase. As such, the word son is used as the co nstant phonetic beat while its various connotations are arranged around it; Call these poems a son sequence: Son as a plural being. Son as rumba beat. Son as progeny. Son, fueron, sern. Son, danzn, guaracha.
)+ Is he? (1 8) The poem provides six definitions of son: the Spanish present indicative of the third person plural of ser (to be), as a type of music, as an English synonym for offspring, as the first in a sequence of Spanish tenses of third person plural conjugat ions of ser (present indicative, preterit indicative, and the future indicative), as a part of a list of Cuban musical styles, and as the English word for a male child. The various definitions of Son serve to highlight the multi lingual dimensions of this word and also serve as a representative example of Cuban translational style. Yet, the hybridity of the word leads the speaker to contemplate the possibility of sugge sts a speaker unsure about the paternity of the son (as offspring ) but also by 8). As a result of its hybridization, it is difficult to determine a singular origin of the word and, consequently, it is presented as being a bastard. Hence, although bilingualism provides a wide range of possibilities and opportunities across languages, it also leads to feelings of instability and of not belonging fully to any on language family. The last poem I will be discussing for thesis is the title poem of the collection, Life on the Hyphen as the conclusion. It is t representative poem of his poetics. The title of the poem refers to the anxieties felt by the speaker as a result of their bilingual 23 de contradictions 24 ./ I have mixed feelings about everything./ Name your tem a 25 """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 23 A traditional Cuban soup made up of various vegetables such as yuca, name, malanga, and boniato. 24 Contradictions
)! name your cerca 26 5). Many Cuban scholars like Prez Firmat have used the symbol of the ajiaco to represent the Cuban condition; a mixture of likening himself to a language ajiaco made of both Spanish and English. His code switches are symptomatic of his condition and he further goes on to imply that it is also symptomatic of cubanos in general. The next two lines of the second stanza inverts the order of the first two lines of The Cuban Condition tionships to their languages can result in one of three ways. In this instance, this speaker is in an anguished alternation between Spanish and English because their loyalties are split between them. The poem continues, You say tomato, I say tu madre 27 ; You say potato, I say Pototo. 28 (11 14) In the introduction of The Cuban Condition Prez Firmat directly addresses this section of the poem after he explains that he has always regretted not doing more of his writing in Spanish. He states, If you s tu madre the code switching expletive may """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""" 25 Subject or term 26 F ence 27 Your mother 28 A nonsensical word. Papa is the correct Spanish term for Potato
)# his other tongue, and most of all, perhaps, with himself. And if you say la tuya this expletive may reflect his unwillingness to accept his switch in loyalties. (Prez Firmat, CC 2) switching. The speaker here is employing his code switches as a witty defensive guard again st the intrusion of English. However on closer inspection, English is immensely Sh all We Dance (1937) staring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The point of the song is to showcase the various ways to pronounce words. The speaker of this poem is parodying an English speaking audience but at the same time repurposing it as a comical stance against English. Yet, when the speaker retaliates against the word potato, he responds with a false cognate, Pototo Based on this and the fact that English is featured he avily in this poem, it undercuts any serious attacks the speaker throws at English. In short, there ajiaco of contradictions. One of the most important things abou t this poem in particular is how gratifying the hole/ un hueco, the thing/ a cosa 29 and if the cosa goes into the hueco, 30 / Consider yourself en casa, 31 / Consider your 19). The speaker insists on replacing English nouns with their Spanish equivalents. There are no instances of italics """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 29 Thing 30 Hole 31 At home
)$ to designate foreign words because none of these words are foreign to the speaker and to the bilingual reader If a reader can understand what this speaker is saying in lines fifteen through nineteen, he considers you part of the same Spanglish family. Paradoxically however, these lines also cater to a monolingual English readership as each phrase in Spanish has an English equivalent. Thus, although the speaker is directly speaking to Spanglish speakers, English speakers from the context he has given can also put the cosa in the hueco sum of irreconcilable differences. (Cha cha ch) 32 24). What Prez Firmat emphasizes in his critical texts are the complications that arise from being a bicultural individual. No matter how fun and light cha uise bilingual bliss (22 24). In short, an innumerable amount of external and internal factors affect a ion, family, and use all influence language, and in turn, language influences its speakers. It is fundamental to this thesis that the reader understands that bilingualism can be defined by more than just proficiency. Affection rather than affinity might be the true measure of bilingualism. In switch and utilize their tongues in ways that are relevant to their cultural and historical realities. Code switching brings about new """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 32 I am an ajiaco will ever figure out./ (Cha cha ch.)
)% Englishes like Spanglish in order to help immigrant communities and individuals adapt to a new way of life that takes into account both sides of their cultures. Bilingual Blues is an ways in which, w hen faced with the immense pressures of exile and a lost home, Cubans and Cuban Americans adapt wonderfully the by re creative potential of translation.
)& Conclusion In Miami, there is a unique term applied to bilingual speakers who cannot speak either language well: nilinge bilinge is someone who speaks two languages (say, Spanish and English), a nilinge lingual, a nulli LH ). While Prez Firmat claims this term originated in Miami, I do not suspect that nilinguals are found only in Miami, but anywhere two languages are vying over speak ers. A perfect example of a nilingual is Ricky Ricardo. His Spanish was peppered with anglicisms such falta for culpa 33 introducer for presentar 34 parientes for padres 35 LH ). While most of his anglicisms might have been deliberate in order to accommodate his English audience, as he got older he seemed to have acquired an accent in both languages. While this short aside might be considered humorous, the humor hides a deeper question that many bilinguals f ind troubling; is bilingualism just a step towards language death? This thesis on many occasions references the separate domains given to """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""" 33 Fault 34 To Introduce 35 Parents
)' languages. Typically Spanish is placed within the domain of the home and English within the domain of school. Yet, wit h each passing generation, the interference of English becomes more and more evident and English begins to invade the home. This was seen very clearly in Qu Pasa U.S.A.? Every episode focused, in one way or another, on the slow acculturation of the famil y especially with the children. The grandparents and parents are constantly fighting a battle against the intrusion of English and American customs. However, it is very unlikely that Spanish in Miami will ever face the threat of language death especially c onsidering that the United States with each passing year becomes more and more Hispanic. What nilingualism really illuminates is a manifestation of linguistic and cultural translation. The language salad of Ricky Ricardo works for him because it reflects his reality as a bicultured individual (and it also makes him hilarious), but it also serves to show that language dominates its speakers, not the other way around. We are shaped, in part, by our relationships to our tongues; most importantly, the validity of our relationships to our tongues does not depend on standards of proficiency. What this thesis presents are the various considerations that must be taken into account when categorizing Cuban American writers and language in order to avoid broad general izations. Although many scholars and myself included, have organized these writers based on place of birth and language, these categories provided the basic foundations on which to challenge misconceptions. There are no set rules of loyalty depending on ge ographic location or language. Circumstance is what guides individuals. In chapter one, the fear of acculturation was clearly seen in the discussion of fellow one and a halfer Ricardo Pau Llosa. For him, the lack of knowledge about the
)( historical significa nce of Cuba in young Cuban Americans disappointed him. These children simply did not know what it was they were pledging allegiance to. However, I argue that knowledge is supplemental. Yes, knowing about Cuba should be very important to young Cuban America ns in order for them to fully understand how they ended up in the United States, yet their attachment to Cuba is really an attachment to family which holds much stronger and is more indicative of loyalty than knowledge. Cultural loyalties are much more com plicated than geography would imply. In chapter two, the one and a half generation is highlighted as the transitional group between Cuban exiles and ethnic Cuban Americans. What is essential here to understand is the ways in which this group shapes its ide ntity based on the cultural influences from both Cuba and America. While this book can come off as assimilationist, Prez Firmat claims it is not. What he wants to emphasize are the ways in which Cuban ional ( LH 6 ). His argument is supported if we consider The Cuban Condition. His thesis in CC claims that the Cuban ethos has been based on the re creative potential of translation. There is no essence in Cuban culture, rather, within the matrix of the Span ish language Cuban writers of the criollismo movement fused together different cultural elements and created their own Cuban vernacular. Miami and other Cuban communities in the United States are keeping up with this tradition of translation by the continu ous hybridization seen in their cultural products. The last chapter focuses on the misconceptions associated with bilingualism and both the linguistic and pragmatic aspects of code switching and diglossia. Bilingualism can be understood in terms other than proficiency. Theories on mother tongues suggest
)) that bilinguals do not need to be fluent in their mother tongue in order to consider it as such. Affection and not fluency is a better measure of bilingualism. This similar to my stance in the first chapter, affection is a better measure of loyalty than knowledge. Nevertheless, the high value placed on proficiency and knowledge do contribute to ways in which writers see themselves as participates of culture and speech communities. These tongue ties are helpf ul in order to better illuminate the various levels of diglossia and code switching present in the works of bilingual writers. merge two distinct and often contradictory element s together from two cultures like language. Code switching is not necessarily the beginnings of language death but a practice which very much takes into account both languages and their value. All in all, I find that it is possible to be faithful to the S panish language in English.
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