Gente Decente: A Borderlands Response to the Rhetoric of Dominance by Leticia Magda Garza-FalcónGente Decente: A Borderlands Response to the Rhetoric of Dominance by Leticia Magda Garza-Falcón

Gente Decente: A Borderlands Response to the Rhetoric of Dominance

byLeticia Magda Garza-Falcón

Paperback | January 1, 1998

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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.

Title:Gente Decente: A Borderlands Response to the Rhetoric of DominanceFormat: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


Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. History as Narrative
  • 2. Walter Prescott Webb's The Great Plains and The Texas Rangers: The Dissolution of History in Narrative
  • 3. The Historical Fiction of Jovita González: Complex and Competing Class Identities
  • 4. María Cristina Mena's Elite, Fermina Guerras' "Folk": The Struggles of Their Distinct and Converging Worlds
  • 5. Américo Paredes's Narratives of Resistance: Property, Labor, Education, Gender, and Class Relations
  • 6. Media Reportage as "History-in-the-Making": Two Short Stories by Helena Maria Viramontes
  • 7. The Texas History of Beatriz de la Garza's Narratives: Sustaining Women, Hispanic Heroes, and a Sense of Place
  • Epilogue
  • Appendix A: Shannon's Appraisal
  • Appendix B: Biographical Outline of Jovita González's Life
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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