George Washington Gomez

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In the novel George Washington Gomez, the main character Gualinto is born into the conflict between Seditionists and Texas Rangers already carrying the burden to become a leader of his people. The author, Americo Paredes constructed his masterpiece around the context and theme of a corrido, a sort of folk story although it is not a traditional corrido, but rather an anti-corrido. Paredes uses the tension between two cultures as a significant theme throughout the novel. Therefore, the novel is concerned with expressing a divided Mexican-American identity and responding to the economic and social changes associated with modernism. During the rebellion, Gualinto’s uncle, Feliciano, acts as a Seditionist. Feliciano is the one who takes care of…show more content…
Gualinto’s pursuit for a place of belonging is the main focus. At the beginning of the novel he is drawn much more to the Mexican culture and opposes the Anglo-Americans and their dominant culture. However, since the narrator presents George Washington Gomez with a shattered and yet transcultural identity, his fragmented subjectivity can be interpreted. “Consciously he is considered himself a Mexican….But there was also George Washington Gomez, the American…secretly desired to be a full-fledged, complete American…” (Paredes, 148). He combines the two cultures, Mexican and American, but cannot form a new and whole identity out of these selected parts. Yet, Gualinto seems to be able to use this split identity to his advantage. His Mexican side is lived out in war fantasies, which torment him. He fantasizes in corrido fashion in which he fights the Anglo-Americans gaining land back that had been stolen from the Mexicans. “He would imagine…he would organize rancheros into a fighting militia and train them…finally, he would defeat not only the army of the United States but its navy as well” (Paredes, 282). During his childhood, he develops a hateful attitude towards the Anglos, which continues until his radical change into an American. He has understood that only adapting to the dominant culture guarantees a prosperous life. Knowing he has betrayed his people, he…show more content…
A corrido is a ballad narrated. In this novel, the fight of simple Mexican-American men against Anglo-American forces is being narrated. These corridos often relate to war experiences. However, a border corrido identifies the struggle with the economic instability Mexican-American families endure and the loss of identity as a significant factor in the development of this unique balladry. As Mexicans along the border were dominated, more conflicts erupted between both cultures. Thus, these events provided further material for border corridos that were sung as a form of resistance against the oppressors and their culture. However, the novel could be read as an anti-corrido, because even though Gualinto tries to live like a corrido hero, corridos are just part of his fantasy. Therefore, George Washington Gomez could be read as a criticism of the corrido and a turn towards American

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