Blog 6: Thomas Rivera

Thomas Rivera is well known for being a true authority as a Chicano author, and progressing the movement of civil rights for his people during a time where many struggled. Through his novella “And the Earth Did Not Devour Him” Rivera was able to channel the essence and everyday lives of Mexican migrant workers.  This included portraying what they thought, how they interacted, what they were like alone, and many other defining characteristics that painted the complete picture of who these migrant workers truly were. I believe that in a way he is not trying to be bias in his remarks, but more or less trying to tell a story. Rivera is narrating a tale through many perspectives, that these workers are people as well and just like everybody else are susceptible to the good and bad qualities of the world. The benefit being this novella happens to also highlight the struggles they faced by these worker, and the different ways in which they choose to coop with them. One example of Rivera empowering the Chicano movement is by showing the love for each other they have while additionally struggling to keep that love going, which is seen in the chapter “The night before Christmas”. Throughout the whole chapter it is written as a sad, yet in a way it is also a heartwarming story of Latino values. Such as this passage,

“Christmas the children asked for toys. She always appeased them with the same promise. She would tell them to wait until the sixth of January, the day of the Reyes Magos, and by the time that day arrived the children had already forgotten all about it.”

In this quote we see that mother has to lie to her children about not being able to provide gifts since the work pay already given to them is only for sustaining and not thriving. Still in the face of overwhelming odds this Latin mother does everything in her power to bring happiness to her children. She does so because in Latino culture a families’ happiness is everything, as evidently seen here where she decides to get toys

“But why doesn’t Santa Claus bring us anything?” “What do you mean? What about the oranges and nuts he brings you?” “No, that’s Don Chon.” “No, I’m talking about what you always find under the sewing machine.” “What, Dad’s the one who brings that, don’t think we don’t know that. Aren’t we good like the other kids?” “Of course, you’re good children. Why don’t you wait until the day of the Reyes Magos. That’s when toys and gifts really arrive. In Mexico, it’s not Santa Claus who brings gifts, but the Three Wise Men. And they don’t come until the sixth of January. That’s the real date.” “Yeah, but they always forget. They’ve never brought us anything, not on Christmas Eve, not on the day of the Three Kings.” “Well, maybe this time they will.” “Yeah, well, I sure hope so.” That was why she made up her mind to buy them something.”

Even in the end where the children were disappointed yet again, Rivera shows that the mother tried anyway because of her love for family, due to her strong Latino beliefs, therefore helping strengthen Chicano culture. I believe this is how he shows the strength that comes with having Latino values in the face of suffering (financially), and still having the fortitude to do what is hard because these traditional Latin values compel you to do so.

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