Anzaldúa Handout

CRTW 201

Dr. Fike


Epigraph: “The kind of action meant here is the kind that involves the whole person.”

                                                            Nosich, chapter 5 (3rd ed.)





You must have Anzaldúa's texts today. If you do not have them, you must go print them out at the computer center downstairs. You may rejoin the discussion in progress.




Professor's remarks.




SEE-I Exercise


What is Anzaldúa’s key concept? Do an SEE-I for it.


S: ____________ is/means. . . .


E: In other words,


E: For example,


I: It’s like




Today's texts are especially well-suited to the Method from Writing Analytically, page 26:

"'The Method' is our shorthand for a systematic procedure for analyzing evidence by looking for patterns of repetition and contrast." That is what we are going to do in the first part of our discussion of this week's text.





T-Chart Exercise



































Here are the terms to plug in: tribal society, black, European, pagan, Chicano, non-Western, Spanish, male, American, class system, empirical, psychic, body, New world, Western, reason/rationality, Aztec, light, female, human, mind, nomadic tribes, spirituality, Mexican, Christian, imagination, dark, animal.





Writing Analytically asks, "So what? Nosich puts it this way: what is your interpretation?


Key concept: feminist deconstruction





You must have with you today Anzaldúa's texts. If you do not, please go get them. You may rejoin the discussion in progress.


Group Exercise Beginning with Point of View


Work in four groups for 20 minutes to answer the following Q @ I: What argument is Anzaldúa making regarding borderlands?  Develop your answer within a specific point of view. That is, look for information and other elements that flesh out an answer to the Q @ I from your group’s assigned vantage point. Groups 1-3 will deal mainly with “Entering into the Serpent.” Group 4 should begin with “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” and branch out to the earlier chapter as time allows. I suggest that you proceed as follows:


10 minutes: Try to develop a basic understanding of your section. Then go deeper--be more analytical. It is very okay to call your classmates' attention to a key passage or passages.

·       Come up with a sub-Q @ I for your group to ponder. It should be specific to your assigned section (see below).

·       Identify Anzaldúa’s purpose for that section.

·       Then identify information and concepts within your section. 

·       Look for other elements, especially context, conclusions, interpretations, implications.

·       It is okay to omit assumptions (we will deal with them on day 2).

You and your group members will make a brief presentation to the class next time.



Here are your groups:


Group 1: Biological point of view. Consider information on snakes, tongues, bodies, sexuality, and the title of the first chapter. Your job includes the opening poem on 72 and the cobra on 79.


Group 2: Mythological, anthropological, religious point of view. Consider information on Guadalupe/Coatlalopeuh, history, religion, etc., especially pages 73-78. See below for the translation of the poem on 74.


Group 3: Psychological point of view. Consider information on the psyche, the mind, psi, Freud, Jung, etc. Your job includes 79-83.


Group 4: Literary, linguistic point of view. Consider academic, languages, texts, genres, etc. Your job is to focus on the second chapter, 85-93.










Translation of the poem on page 74:


On the ninth of December in the year 1531

at four in the morning
a poor Indian that they called Juan Diego
was crossing the Tepeyác hill
when he heard a bird’s song.
He raised his head and saw that the summit of the hill
was covered with a bright white cloud.
Standing in front of the sun
on a crescent moon
held by an angel
was an Aztec woman
dressed in Indian clothes.
Our Lady Maria of Coatlalopeuh
appeared to him.
“Dearest Juan Diego, He-who-speaks-like-an-eagle,”
the Virgin said to him in the Aztec language.
“I choose this hill to make my altar.
Tell your people that I am the mother of God,
I will help the Indians.
This he told Juan Zumarraga
but the bishop didn’t believe him.
Juan Diego returned, filled his coat
with roses from Castile 
growing miraculously in the snow.
He took them to the bishop,
and when he opened his coat
the portrait of the Virgin
was painted there.




"Guadalupe," Global Dictionary of Theology:

"According to Mexican tradition, a dark-skinned woman, dressed in pink with a turquoise veil, appeared at Tepeyac [sic], north of Mexico City, in 1531 to indigenous Juan Diego. She sent the reluctant Juan to ask the bishop to build a temple in her honor, but his requests were denied. When Juan avoided Guadalupe because his uncle was dying, she appeared and told him not to be afraid because his uncle was cured. As a sign, she gave him roses, which he took to the bishop in his tilma (tunic). When he displayed the flowers, her image appeared on his tilma. In response, the bishop built a chapel honoring Guadalupe. The Spaniards, unable to understand the indigenous name for the woman [Coatlalopeuh], called her “Guadalupe.” The title “Our Lady of Guadalupe” designates her as an appearance of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus."





Day Two: Sacred Cow Exercise--How the Chapters Relate to Your Own Thinking


Did Anzaldúa's text activate any of your own FBIs? Extract assumptions from Anzaldúa’s two chapters (those she believes to be accurate as well as those she wants to overturn). List as many as you can and write them on the white boards. You might well begin with the section on which your group reported. Then ask yourself this question: At what points did you feel yourself pushing back? Why? What “sacred cows” did Anzaldúa violate for you as a reader of her text? Think back to Tart’s “Western Creed Exercise” as you work back through the two chapters. How did your body and emotions FEEL as you read her chapters? Finally, did you find any fallacies in her material—any places where she violates the spirit of her own project? Here are some prompts re. assumptions; feel free to add your own to this list.






And Nosich

The critical-thinking character traits (habits of mind) appear on pages 175-76. In what ways does Anzaldúa illustrates these traits?





Final Application


What things from Anzaldúa’s two chapters might help you write your final paper about a global cultural event?