Patterns of anarchy and order in the works of John Rechy



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The works of John Rechy display a compulsion to destroy the cultural, social, sexual, religious, moral, and filial systems which represent the Establishment, countered by the recognition that when order is gone life no longer has purpose. The compulsion to rebel and the opposing need to reestablish some kind of order are both a parallel and a reaction to the chaos Rechy sees at the center of all existence. Because he is Chicano, homosexual, and a former Catholic, Rechy acknowledges a life-long feeling of alienation from the white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant society in which he was reared. His personal alienation, however, also stems from his rebellion against his father and his early loss of faith in religious orthodoxy. His writings--published and unpublished, fiction, drama, poetry, and criticism--reflect his background, and his characters exhibit a yearning both for identity and for some meaningful substitute for religious salvation.