Will he reach his high !: aspirations? Or just blow it? Read about it in the Observer. I want to subscribe to The Texas Observer. Check enclosed Bill me Where did you find this issue of the Observer? JULY 23, 1999 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19 Gente Decente fastforwards in the final chapters to the work of contemporary Chicanas Marla Viramontes and Beatriz de la Garza. In the harrowing stories by Viramontes, the misperceived actions of two elderly female immigrants provoke violent reactions from their barrio neighbors, who cannot square such “alien” behavior with the media’s “falsely unified view” which they have internalized as truth. The de la Garza stories concern the effects of displacement upon women who must take on leadership roles, and upon a Mexicano soldier who returns to Austin as a hero to his family but without fanfare in segregated society. There is also a terrific story about a boy who “had learned to outsmart the system at an early age by claiming an important ancestor with his own last name, in order to make a point in the Garza-Falcon ends Gente Decente with an engaging epilogue of growing up in the Valley as one of the few “who managed to squeeze through the window of opportunity before the Nixon and Reagan eras closed off what had finally became available to us during the Johnson years.” This Borderlands Mexicana has drawn on her own experiences and upon previous untapped sources to offer an expanded view of the past that enlightens our present and gives us hope. It is crucial to our full understanding of culture that Gente Decente not be dismissed as most of the literature it illuminates has been; that this significant inquiry not be ignored like the profound issues she clarifies tend to be. Robert Bonazzi is at work on Humane Rites, a book of essays about book, Man in the Mirror, about John Howard Griffin, has gone into a second printing by Orbis books. “Painting,” from page 12 down coats. Jesse was standing, his arms crossed and hugging his lined denim jacket. “Relax, Jesse,” said Grace. “Come sit with us.” He sat near and yet a couple of paces away. “You look awful,” said Grace. “You should’ve slept inside. You’re so stubborn. We should’ve made you sleep inside.” “He would’ve never listened,” Hub said. “I thought about it last night,” Jesse started. “You should’ve just come in,” Grace said. “You’re so stubborn.” “Not that,” he said. He stood up, moved up and down on his toes. “Well say it, Jesse,” Hub said after awkward seconds passed. “Say it.” “You’re not right,” he said. “I don’t know how, but it ain’t right. It’s not. It’s wrong. What you say sounds right, but there’s something wrong. That painting was wrong.” He was louder than the fire. “I know what you’re saying,” Hub said. “I see what you’re saying.” Jesse was stepping to the left and right, side to side. “Okay, Jesse,” said Hub. “Please,” said Grace. “Please, Jesse, sit down. Please, take it easy and sit with us.” Jesse did, curling his arms around his knees, rocking like a pouting child, staring at the pile, the mountains and valleys in front of them all, the gold flames and black smoke bursting in the sky becoming blue. 111 Dagoberto Gilb is the author of The Magic of Blood and The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acufla.
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