Conflict and struggle: a study of themes in the Chicano novel



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Through the art of the novel, Chicano writers are attempting to come to terms with their experience in all its aspects and to achieve an identity both as a people and as individual human beings. Moreover, the themes with which these novelists are preoccupied reveal that they see the human experience—not only that of the Mexican-American— as one of conflict and struggle. This study examines four major themes in the Chicano novel: cultural conflict and the quest for identity; the Chicano's relationship to the family, to the Church and to the land; religious conflict and spiritual alienation; and the struggle for survival. The five novels on which the study focuses are Rudolfo A. Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima, Jose A. Villarreal's Pocho, Raymond Barrio's The Plum Plum Pickers, Richard Vasques' Chicano and Tomas Rivera's ". . . y no se lo trago la tierra."