"I see a mosaic pattern (Aztec-like) emerging, a weaving pattern, thin here, thick there . . . This almost finished product seems an assemblage, a montage...now appearing, now disappearing in a crazy dance. The whole thing has a mind of its own, escaping me and insisting on putting together the pieces of its own puzzle with minimal direction from my will." – Gloria Anzaldua.
English 380A, Winter 2011
Professor Deborah Miranda

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Journal #4: Colored Memories in Canicula

One of the most interesting elements of Canicula is the incorporation of photographs into the vignettes. These photos give the stories a very real feel for the reader, and also seem to inspire more detailed memories for the narrator. One photo/story combination that particularly caught my interest is the Rocking Horse section.

While describing herself as a child on a rocking horse, the narrator vividly describes the colors in the scene; the horse is "the color of the red coyoles," her feet are in "brown huarache...with tiny green nopales," a "white ribbon" is in her "black curls," her dress is "blue like the sky," and there are "tiny pink rosebuds." All these vivid colored images are particularly interesting because the photo shown is black and white.

What could the use of color be saying about the relationship between image and memory? What about between the person whom the memory belongs to and the person they are telling? One might assume that the narrator is actually looking at a color photograph but knows that the reader will see a black and white one. The colors are such a strong part of the memory for her that she feels the reader must know them to understand the story. Maybe it is a commentary on the vibrancy of youth, reflected in the "seriousness" of her rocking horse riding.

1 comment:

  1. While reading the book, I found myself wishing that the photos were in color in order to grasp the full visualization of what the narrator is describing. Instead, we have to rely heavily on Cantu's descriptions of color in order to have those two-dimensional photos come to life.
    Her emphasis on color is important in this way, since the characters and their experiences become more real to the audience. The tiny details, such as the color of the rocking horse makes the stories seem very authentic. The fictitious parts of the novel were seamlessly blended into the autobiographical.