Gente Decente: A Borderlands Response to the Rhetoric of Dominance

Paperback | January 1, 1998

byLeticia Magda Garza-Falcón

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In his books The Great Plains, The Great Frontier, and The Texas Rangers, historian Walter Prescott Webb created an enduring image of fearless, white, Anglo male settlers and lawmen bringing civilization to an American Southwest plagued with "savage" Indians and Mexicans. So popular was Webb's vision that it influenced generations of historians and artists in all media and effectively silenced the counter-narratives that Mexican American writers and historians were concurrently producing to claim their standing as "gente decente," people of worth.

These counter-narratives form the subject of Leticia M. Garza-Falcón's study. She explores how prominent writers of Mexican descent-such as Jovita González, Américo Paredes, María Cristina Mena, Fermina Guerra, Beatriz de la Garza, and Helena María Viramontes -have used literature to respond to the dominative history of the United States, which offered retrospective justification for expansionist policies in the Southwest and South Texas. Garza-Falcón shows how these counter-narratives capture a body of knowledge and experience excluded from "official" histories, whose "facts" often emerged more from literary techniques than from objective analysis of historical data.

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From the Publisher

In his books The Great Plains, The Great Frontier, and The Texas Rangers, historian Walter Prescott Webb created an enduring image of fearless, white, Anglo male settlers and lawmen bringing civilization to an American Southwest plagued with "savage" Indians and Mexicans. So popular was Webb's vision that it influenced generations of h...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:327 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.75 inPublished:January 1, 1998Publisher:University Of Texas Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292728077

ISBN - 13:9780292728073

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. History as Narrative2. Walter Prescott Webb's The Great Plains and The Texas Rangers: The Dissolution of History in Narrative3. The Historical Fiction of Jovita González: Complex and Competing Class Identities4. María Cristina Mena's Elite, Fermina Guerras' "Folk": The Struggles of Their Distinct and Converging Worlds5. Américo Paredes's Narratives of Resistance: Property, Labor, Education, Gender, and Class Relations6. Media Reportage as "History-in-the-Making": Two Short Stories by Helena Maria Viramontes7. The Texas History of Beatriz de la Garza's Narratives: Sustaining Women, Hispanic Heroes, and a Sense of PlaceEpilogueAppendix A: Shannon's AppraisalAppendix B: Biographical Outline of Jovita González's LifeNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

This book challenges, expands, and reinterprets current knowledge about the development of Chicana/o literary history.... It will make significant contributions far beyond the field of American literature. - Antonia I. Castañeda, Department of History, St. Mary's University