Here’s To You Jesusa Essay

For 20 points, write a well-crafted essay (four or more pages, double spaced, 12. point (font)). Make sure you support your arguments with specific references to the readings.

Elena Poniatowska’s Here’s To You, Jesusa! (1969) is one of the most discussed books on Latin America. Through the lens of Jesusa Palancares, the book highlights important themes in modern Mexican (and Latin American) history: the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), the social divisions of the first half of the 20th century, the role of gender, the reproduction of inequality, popular religiosity and spirituality among others. Use Here’s to You Jesusa! the course readings, and lectures to discuss the following themes:

A. Vasconcelos, Orozco, and Mariategui (all from our D2L readings) represented the first generation of intellectuals and artists (1920s) who broke from the dominant ideology of the ruling elite (mainly Positivism and Social Darwinism) that diminished the aptitudes of most Latin Americans. They were proponents of creating a new culture grounded on the lower classes. As a pioneer in the development of the “novela testimonial (testimonial novels),” Poniatowska represents the second generation of intellectuals (the 1960s) that focused on the lower classes. Explain in what ways the second generation of intellectuals followed the footsteps of the first generation. As a tool for examining the popular classes, what are the strengths and weaknesses of “novela testimonial”?

B. This book was published in 1969 and could be read as an assessment on the achievements of the Mexican Revolution. With that in mind, Jesusa Palancares was born in the last decade of the “old regime (Porfiriato, 1876-1910),” and fought in the Mexican Revolution (she was a soldadera, a woman soldier). The goals of the Revolution included agrarian reform and social justice. Briefly discuss her role as a soldadera. As a veteran of the Mexican Revolution, what did the Revolution mean to her?

C. At least until the 1960s, one can argue that Jesusa was a representative of the poor women in Latin America. Use Jesusa to explain how poverty, social exclusion, and women’s oppression were reproduced in Mexico and Latin America over the decades. Using Jesusa as an example, how did poor women cope (and resist) with the harshneawzss of poverty and social exclusion?