"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 Physical Moments

Many of the moments described from the snapshots in Canicula hold the tone of pictures that one reviews after the passing of a loved one. They are incredibly intimate encounters that allow the reader to almost shuffle through this box of photographs along with the narrator. As the title implies, these scenes inflict a sense of “dog days” both within the scenes and the imagined scenario where the narrator views these images. Unlike the other books in this course, Canicula does not operate under the pretense of action in the present moment. These moments are all in the past, and in a way the author seems to morn their passing.

The use of images to compliment, or aid in the recall, of distant memories lends weight to her recollections. In Pocho, the reader gets the sense that many of the thoughts and positions held by the narrator are reflections made later in life. The concepts, such as doubt in religion and uncertainty of cultural heritage, may have begun in that stage of the narrator’s life, but are far too complex for the reader to trust in a youthful narrator. Cantu, on the other hand, does not claim complete accuracy, and indeed uses many mental “snapshots” when tangible ones have been lost. When she thinks about her Mami the narrator says, “There is no photo to remind me, but in my mind’s eye I see her in the early morning darkness” (Cantu 43). In many ways these images without pictures tell more about the narrator than the descriptions of the photos because they lack the technical precision and rely more heavily on internal workings. The physical photographs set the stage by creating a backdrop based in the irrefutable past, while the pictures that exist only in her memory demonstrate the process of change over time.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your last point that the memories without photos are even more powerful. Those are clearly the more meaningful moments for the narrator; they are on her mind even without seeing a photo to remind her. Those are the moments who conciously shaped her childhood and her memories.