Chicano/a Multiplicity and In-betweenness in John Rechy’s City of Night
Eric Bergman ; PhD Candidate, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, University of Helsinki
Fulltext: pdf (269 KB), English, Pages 71 – 95 ,
John Rechy’s novel City of Night, published in 1963, predated the Chicano Movement and the scholarly concentration on Mexican American issues that came in the movement’s wake. However, many of the subjects that have preoccupied scholars since the beginning of the interdisciplinary field of Chicano Studies, such as the multiplicity of identities in the Chicano/a community, were anticipated in Rechy’s novel. Through an analysis of narrative techniques, such as the first person point of view and observational tone, the episodic structure and picaresque genre, this article outlines how multiplicity and in-betweenness, especially in terms of ethnicity and sexuality, are constructed in the novel and can be considered as an example of the conceptual space of nepantla.
Nepantla, Multiplicity, In-betweenness, John Rechy, Chicano Studies
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2. Oscar Zeta Acosta and Nepantla: The Conceptual In-between
American Studies in Scandinavia;2015, Vol. 47 Issue 1, p85
In this paper the concept of nepantla, which means ‘torn between ways’ in Nahuatl, the Aztec language, is applied to a reading of Oscar Zeta Acosta’s The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo in order to determine how in-betweenness is represented and constructed in the novel. Based on Gloria Anzaldiia’s theoretical work, the resulting reading into nepantla becomes useful in determining how the protagonist, Oscar, does not narrate his experiences from a static position that can be easily categorized, but rather as a multiplicity in which he is located in a conceptual space in-between multiple categories. As such, applying nepantla to a text broadens the understanding and applicability of non-diachronic identity formations, particularly in contrast to the term mestizaje. Nearly every character in the novel is described in terms of his or her ethnicity, often derogatorily, including the narrator, which, understood as satire, goes beyond the nationalism prevalent in the Chicano Movement. Understood as a religious pilgrimage, the narration develops from a Mexican American Catholic upbringing, to Baptist Anglo Protestantism and ultimately into a form of Aztec religious coding that is in-between inherited and constructed identity categories and framed as a creative nepantlera space and as a choice.