Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

English

Program

English

First Advisor/Chairperson

Dr. Amy Hamilton

Second Advisor

Dr. Lesley Larkin

Abstract

In the 1960s Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez penned his now canonical, epic poem “I Am Joaquin.” The poem chronicles the historic oppression of a transnational, Mexican people as well as revolutionary acts of their forefathers in resisting tyranny. Coinciding with a series of renewed, sociopolitical campaigns, collectively known as the Chicano Movement, Gonzales’ poem uses vivid imagery to present an idealized representation of Chicanos and encouraged his reader to engage in revolutionary action. Though the poem encourages strong leadership, upward mobility, and political engagement the representations of women in his text are misogynistic and limiting.

His presentation of the “black-shawled Faithful women” and “woman, sheltered beneath her shawl of black… Her rosary she prays and fingers endlessly” represent a culturally idealized framing of womanhood which draws heavily from traditional religious and cultural archetypes (Gonzalez 111-273). Chicanas, having a history of revolutionary action, recognized the contradictions of a movement that was fighting for civil rights and true justice, yet subordinated women. The representations of women in Chicana literature in the decades following the Chicano Movement, in works such as Sandra Cisneros “Woman Hollering Creek” and Cherríe Moraga’s poem “Loving on the Run,” sought to reject molds, revitalize myth, & create space for fluid movement through gender boundaries and sexual orientation.