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Reviews 377 the concept of a vulnerable, supine female landscape inhabited by a sym­ bolically female population was for the European intruders (who have insisted on calling themselves “the white man” ever since, who have bragged about their Cherokee princess grandmothers, who have written books about the Virgin Land after having profited from the rape scene). Gill portrays the development of this mutually powerful symbol not just as an interesting historical or sociological fact, but as a kind of myth-building, a creation through organic narrative: “There is an important interdependence between story and history. Story is a manifestation of the power of the word to render history and, consequently, human life meaningful” (67). Gill’s book makes clear that it has been the whites as much as the Indians, the scholars as much as the soldiers, the faddists as well as the pioneers and developers, who have participated in this ongoing gender-charged mythic story of conquest. It is indeed, sadly, an American story in which we have all played a part. BARRE TOELKEN Utah State University Gringos in Mexico. Edited by Edward Simmen. (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1988. 390 pages, $13.95.) The Children of the Sun: Mexican-Americans in the Literature of the United States. By Marcienne Rocard, translated by Edward G. Brown, Jr. (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1989. 393 pages, $45.00.) Cecil Robinson, in his classic study of the depiction of Mexicans and Chicanos in the literature of the United States (Mexico and the Hispanic Southwest in American Literature— 1977; a revision of With the Ears of Strangers: The Mexican in American Literature— 1963) presents an argu­ ment in favor of the perspective of what he terms an outsider, a foreign but knowledgeable observer who writes about a people and a culture different from his own. Robinson’s theory is that this observer is detached from his subject and thus has the advantage of “a double vision, the view from within and the view from without.” Gringos in Mexico is an anthology presenting twenty-four selections from fifteen such observers, ranging from Stephen Crane (1898) through Carolyn Osborne (1983). A fortuitous addition is a prologue essay by William Cullen Bryant, an account of an 1872 trip to Mexico which prepares the reader for the rest of the selections. Simmen provides a lengthy, first-rate introduction which discusses each author’s Mexican experiences; he includes details and pertinent quotations that reveal the writers’ties to Mexico, and sometimes their reasons for attempt­ ing to record their impressions of the country through the medium of the short story. This background enables the reader to gauge the depth (or shallowness, in some cases) of the writer’s knowledge of landscape and characters. 378 Western American Literature The subjects and themes of the stories are varied—male/female relation­ ships, hunger and despair, war, religion, revenge, friendship—but all have either Mexican characters or are set against a Mexican background. Simmen (also editor of a similar collection, The Chícanos: From Caricature to SelfPortrait — 1971) has selected and presented the stories well. They represent a broad cross-section of views Americans have generally held of Mexicans, ranging from the offensive, stereotypical images of cowards and thieves to the more understanding and realistic portraits of admirable people who live in a complex society. A few merely use the country as a backdrop while others could take place nowhere else because of their unique Mexican flavor. It is a good collection, one which any aficionado of Mexico will want to own. Marcienne Rocard’s book is a cousin to Simmen’s, but here the author presents not an anthology but a scholarly study, a history of the image of the Mexican-American in Anglo-American literature from 1848 to 1974. Professor Rocard (a member of the faculty of the University of Toulouse-LeMirail in France) also examines the oral and written literature created by MexicanAmericans . The volume is divided into three chronological periods: 1) 18481940 , “The Conquered: The Yoke of the Stereotype” ; 2) 1940-1965, “The Invisible but Invincible Minority” ; and 3) 1965-1974, “Chícanos Present Their Own Image.” Each part is further subdivided into two...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 377-378
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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