I Am “We”

During our group investigation on Monday of Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands/ La Frontera, we discussed how autobiographical concepts play an intricate role in the progression of her narrative. After reviewing the work a couple times I find that the concept of rationality seems to be the most dominant throughout the work. Borderlands deals with the idea of exiting amongst various social groups and having a sense of idenitity with each. Anzaldua explores the difficulty of dealing with the self in relation to her cultural heritage. Smith and Watson explain that rationality in autobiography is “…imbricated in the constant self-other interactions of social worlds; and it must employ storytelling modes, tropes, and self-positionings to tell about itself” (RA 217). Furthermore, “the narrator’s story is often refracted through the stories of others, as in the autoethnographic constitution of the community of identification…” (RA 216). In the preface to her book, Anzaldua writes, “I am a border woman. I grew up between two cultures, the Mexican…and the Anglo” (Anzaldua 1). She presents her self as having a dual identity, and the rest of the narrative deals with coming to terms with each of those in her society. Anzaldua relies on her heritage and stories of her ancestors to develop a sense of her own identity. Throughout the text she offers quotes, poems, and songs that are in Spanish in order to instill a sense of the dualism that defines her. She interprets this as linguistic identity: “I am my language” (81). Since the narrative is written in both Spanish and English, the reader is able to better understand how she relates the self to heritage and society. Anzaldua’s examination of her self sets up the idea of multiple selves, in that there are various ways to define who we are in this very diverse world. By applying the concept of rationality, it is easier to understand how she comes to terms with her dual identity.

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