Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Genre/Style Section

Borderlands/La Frontera is a semi-autobiographical work of prose and poetry, approaching subjects such as race, gender, class, and identity.

Literary scholar AnaLouise Keating conceptualizes Anzaldúa’s writings in Borderlands as a form of “poet-shaman aesthetics,” which argues that Anzaldua’s words are intended to have material implications.[30] In particular, Keating draws from interviews in which Anzaldúa describes herself as a “shaman,” serving as an intermediary for individuals to connect them with their cultural background.[31] Keating contends this role manifests in Anzaldúa’s poetry, with its frequent usages of metaphors and imagery as a means to articulate the experiences of oppressed populations and guide them toward emotional healing.[30]

Another stylistic choice deployed by Anzaldúa in Borderlands is known as “code-switching,” that is, her interchanging usage of Chicano Spanish and English.[2] According to scholar Melissa Castillo-Garsow, Anzaldúa utilizes this style to challenge conventional Western writings, while simultaneously maintaining Borderland’s academic legitimacy by limiting the usage of Spanish and Chicano vernacular in the book.[2]


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