Midterm Assignment Instructions

This is a four part exam.  You must answer  3 questions from part 1. You must answer 2 questions from part 2. You must answer  4 questions from part 3 . You must answer 3 questions from Part 4. This is a total of 12 questions in 12 or more sentences.  Please do not answer with filler sentences to just complete the at least 10 sentence requirement.   Example of an unacceptable filler sentence:  Mary and Joe ran down the street.  You must be descriptive in your sentences.

Each question appropriately, completely, correctly answered and punctuated is worth 8 points for a total of  96 points . No short 5 word SENTENCES! If a sentence is 5 words or less I will not count it.  Invest time and pride in your answers. 

If you want to earn 8 extra points you may answer  THE BONUS QUESTTION #39 IN  12 OR MORE SENTENCES. 

Remember to type the question you are answering above your answer. Don’t forget to include the number of the question you are answering.  Answer the entire question.  Count the number of sentences completed for each answer and place number of sentences at the end of the question.  (See sample question)  Don’t forget to punctuate each sentence. Use your spell check. 

Remember to answer the entire question.

This examination is a compilation of Lectures, videos, assigned class reading and class discussions from week 1 through week 7

                     Handouts, films, videos, You Tube interviews and so on

           Required Texts

  • Borderlands La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua
  • Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami

           All packet handouts  Week 1 through week 7

EXAMPLE  Who is Lydia Cacho? Why is she important to Chicanas and other women? 

Lydia Cacho is a Mexican Journalist and the president of the organization Centro Integral de Atencion a las Mujeres (CIAM)/ Women’s Assistance Center in Mexico.  She has highlighted abuses suffered by women and children, and the impunity that those responsible often enjoy.  In 2005 she published a book titled Los Demonios de Eden/ The Devils of Eden alleging the involvement of local Mexican Businessmen in a child pornography ring.  In December 05 Cacho was arrested and charged with slander by one of the alleged businessman. While being held, Cacho was granted the Premio Francisco Ojeda al Valor Periodístico (Francisco Ojeda Award for Journalistic Courage).    She was released with on a $10,000 bond and has since had several threats made to her life.  In Mexican law slander is a felony even if the information said about the individual is true.  She was acquitted of any previous charges of slander by the alleged Businessmen.  Her case was tried in Mexico City where  slander charges no longer apply.  She is important to women because she dared to bring to the public abuses imposed on children.  Her book has been a best seller. The text informs the public of such abuses and the cover ups so often associated when these issues are brought to the forefront.  She received the 2007 Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award for Women and Children’s Rights [7] and, in 2008, the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.[8]                                           

PART 1   Everyone must choose and answer 3 questions in 12 or more sentences.

  1. Who was Christopher Columbus?  Discuss the account. “The Green and Beautiful Land”.  What was your reaction to this text? What struck you the most about this account?  If you could speak with Columbus what would you ask him about this account and his experience in the New World? ( Reading packet handout p. 4- 11, The  Borzoi  Anthology of Latina American Literature Vol  1 )
  2. Who was Bartolome De La Casas?   Discuss the account titled “The Horrors of the Conquest.  What was your reaction to this account? Was he concerned about the natices?  What did he do to attempt to stop the in human treatment of the Indians?  If you could speak with De Las Casas what would you ask him or say to him about this article and his experience?   (Reading packet handout p 22-30 in  The Borzoi  Anthology of Latina American Literature Vol 1
  3. Who was Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca?  Discuss  “The Naked Spaniards”. What was your reaction to this account?   What thoughts came to you when reading this text?  If you could speak with Cabeza De Vaca what would you ask him or say to him about this article and his experience. Reading packet handout p. 33-38 The Borzoi  Anthology of Latina American Literature Vol 1
  4. Who was Bernal Diaz Del Castillo?  Discuss the account “The Entry of Cortez into Mexico”. What was your reaction to this account?  What did you learn by reading this account?  If you could speak with Del Castillo what would you ask him or say to him about this article and his experience. Reading packet handout p. 39-57 The Borzoi  Anthology of Latina American Literature Vol 1
  5. Discuss the film Exploring the Borderlands https://www.learner.org/series/amerpass/unit02/usingvideo.html.  What did you learn by watching this film?  What characterizes a “borderland” or “contact zone”? What boundaries are challenged in a border region? How have conceptions of borderlands and contact zones changed over time? 

PART 2 Everyone must choose and answer 2 questions in 12 or more sentences.

  1. Who is Americo Paredes? Provide me enough content about him and his work.   Why is he important to Chicano and US Mexico  Borderlands Literature? Tell me about the work he did concerning Gregorio Cortez?  How did this bring about our awareness about the interchange and miscommunication that is still prevalent today towards Mexicans in the United States.
  2. Discuss the film the Ballad of Gregorio Cortez. Who was the director?  Why is this film so important to understand the effects of the US Mexico Border?  What do you think was the main point of the film?  What reaction did you have to this  film?  Explain in detail.  What emotions did the film maker evoke in you? If you could talk to the director about his work what would you say to him?  In essence the film is about the corrido made about Gregorio Cortez.
  3. What is a Mexican American or Chicano Corrido? When did the Mexican American or Chicano Corrido emerge and why? How are corrido’s often used? What language are corrido’s usually sung? When did the Mexican American or Chicano Corrido emerge and why? What use did the Corrido serve during the Mexican Revolution of 1910?  Can the corrido be traced to any Spanish influence?
  4. What do contemporary corrido narrative tell us about today? When did the U.S. Mexico Border corrido develop? When did the idea of a boundary cause the borderer to begin to see itself as a Mexican or American. Which U.S. historical tragedy would serve to reinvigorate the genre of the corrido in the U.S.?
  5. Tell me about the Norco corrido song 500 bullets  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rYwzrXq-lI
  6. Tell me about the video Inside Narcorridos: Is the Music influencing a Generation? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN1YpaInUlo How do you feel about narco corridos as a narrative?  Should they be banned?  Why or why not? Do you think that they glorify the Narco lifestyle?


  1. According to Gloria Anzaldua “The U.S-Mexican border es una herida abierta/ open scar  where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds. And before a scab forms it hemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country — a border culture.  Do you agree with her.  How do you see the U.S. Mexico Border as a negative reflection on the U.S. side and The Mexico side.   What experiences do you have with the U.S. Mexico Border? 

  2.      13.  According to Gloria Anzaldua “Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them. A 
  3.              border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the 
  4.              emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition. The prohibited and forbidden are its              
  5.              inhabitants.”  Is she on target?  Explain why you agree with her?  How important  do you think U.S. Mexico Borderlands   
  6.              literature is?
  7. Who is the author of Borderlands La Frontera ?  Tell me about her? Who is telling the story? What is the genre of this book? Is it an experimental text?  Explain by an example.    Does she cross genre borders?  In other words she goes from essay, to autobiographical to poetry to theory with no explanation? Does the author cross geographical borders?   Which ones?  Is she angry?  Does she channel her anger into creativity? Provide an example.  Did you find the book hard to follow?  Did it frustrate you?  Does she juxtapose her personal frustration into the text? Provide an example.  Did she code switch?  Did she use Spanglish as a means of making a statement? 
  8. Did you want to keep reading the Borderlands/La Fronterat?   Why or why not?   What themes did she address?  Social Issues addressed?  Women’s Issues addressed? Cultural issues addressed?  Why do you think the author choose to tell  her story?    Was her  work inspiring? Do you think you have to be a Chicana/Mexicana/Latina to understand what she is conveying? What audience do you think the author is trying to reach? How would you rate this book? Why? What did you learn from reading this memoir? If you could speak with Gloria  what  would you ask her or say to her about her book, her life?
  9. What is a Chicana? A mestiza? What does Anzaldúa mean when she calls for “a new mestiza consciousness”? You may refer to her book or the film Exploring Borderlands https://www.learner.org/series/amerpass/unit02/usingvideo.html
  10. Do writers have a responsibility to make their work clear and easily understandable for readers? When might it be artistically or politically important for a writer to use languages or styles that might be unfamiliar to readers? Do you think that Gloria’s Spanglish and code switching added something to her narrative or was it confusing and distracting.  Explain with examples.
  11. What is the psychological effect, in her view, of a life between and within several cultures? What causes this process to be a struggle (una lucha)?  If you are bi-cultural, bi racial, bi-lingual or any other bi  do you see it as a struggle in your personal life? Explain if yes of no? What are some metaphors Anzaldua uses for the situation of mixed-ethnicity? (struggle of flesh, struggle of borders, an inner war, need to see with serpent and eagle eyes, act of kneading)
  12. In “Que no se nos olivide los hombres”–that we not forget the men–what explanation does Anzaldua give for the phenomenon of machismo? (, compensates for loss of sense of dignity and respect) What does she see as its results? (alcoholism, brutality, drug abuse) What sorts of men does she see as relatively free from contempt for women? (gay men, a few others,)What forces will encourage Mexican-American men to change? What does she see as the potential contributions of mestizas and gay people on the processes of evolution? Why do you think she mentions the idea of evolution frequently?
  13. Tell me about “The World Wide Significance of Gloria Anzaldua’s Work”,  according to Norma Cantu in the Introduction of Borderlands La Frontera?  How do you feel about the importance of Gloria’s book?
  14. Discuss Chapter 1. The Homeland,Aztlan/ El Otro Mexico p. 23 to 36. What was this chapters main focus.  What did you learn from reading this chapter about the border? 
  15. Tell me about Gloria’s discussion of Cultural Tyranny in Chapter 2.  P.  38-40 What does she mean by Cultural Tyranny? What did you get from reading this ?  If you could talk to Gloria what would you ask her about Cultural Tyranny?
  16. Tell me about Gloria’s  theory of  “Linguist Terrorism” in Chapter 5 of  HOW TO TAME A WIILD TONGUE? What is  Andaldua trying to convey? What is your reaction to this?  What would you say to Gloria about this essay?


  1. Tell me about the author  Laila Lalami  of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits. Why is her work important to the voices of global immigrant border crossing?  In Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits  how are the stories told?   What is the genre of this book? Does the author cross geographical borders?     Did you find the book hard to follow?  Did it frustrate you?   Did you want to keep reading it?  What emotions did it provoke in you.  Did the author engage you?  Why do you think the author wrote this text? How did you feel towards the characters?  Were they complacent,  brave,
  2. Tell me what you have learned by reading this book about the Morrocan/Spain border? What impression did it leave on you?  Name 4 of the characters. Describe them? How did you feel about the characters?   Were they desperate? Why did they want to leave their homeland? If you could speak to them what would you ask them?
  3. Discuss the “TRIP”. What was this all about? P. 1 to 16.
  4. How do the primary characters—Murad, Halima, Aziz, and Faten—see themselves before they attempt to enter Spain? Who are they, in their own minds? Who have they become by the novel’s closing scenes?
  5. Discuss “Better Luck tomorrow”? p. 95 -10 113 Name the characters and their experiences in the story?
  6. Should Halima have trusted the judge in “Bus Rides”? Does she live in a world in which divorce (and family law in general) are politicized, or is her dilemma strictly a consequence of culture? Do culture and politics mirror each other?
  7. In the prologue, why does Aziz succeed while the other passengers do not? What sets him apart? What does his financial success in Spain cost him? How is his dream for the future different from his wife’s?
  8. Why, ultimately, is the future so limited for Murad and others like him? What marketable skills does Murad demonstrate throughout the novel, and how would they benefit him in a more prosperous country? What ensures a country’s economic prosperity?
  9. As Faten wonders whether Noura kept the hijab, she decides that she “was probably still wearing it. She was rich; she had the luxury of having faith …Noura also had the luxury of having no faith.” How do money and class factor into the novel’s story lines? What distinctions are made between those can legally go abroad, through universities or jobs in high-end industries, and those who cannot?
  10. What immigration stories exist in your family history? Can you envision a world so free of poverty and injustice that no one would feel compelled to risk his or her life for immigration? If you were forced to relinquish your current citizenship and flee to another nation, where would you want to go? What cultural price would you have to pay?
  11. Is Moroccan culture exotic? In what ways are these characters, their motives and struggles, familiar or unfamiliar to you? Do they parallel with immigrants coming into the U.S. that you have encountered .
  12. Does all emigration/immigration involve similar losses and gains? How is illegal immigration different in terms of the stakes? At what point does an immigrant become a countryman of his adopted state? Are emigrants/immigrants always stuck between two worlds? Can that position be a positive thing?
  13. Are immigrants treated similarly in various countries? How do past national relations with country of origin figure into the equation? How do current events and stereotypes affect the treatment? How does the self-image of the destination country figure in? How do economic factors in the destination country play a part?
  14. What parallels do you see between the plight of Hope’s characters and the issue of immigration as it is currently being debated in the U.S.? How are the responses of the government and citizens of Spain different from or similar to how the issue of immigration is currently being debated in the U.S., particularly in relation to Mexican immigrants?
  15. The U.S. is often called “A Nation of Immigrants.” Have we been different from most countries because of the degree of immigration? Are we still?


If you want to earn 8 extra points you may answer  THE BONUS QUESTTION #39 IN  12 OR MORE SENTENCES

Tell me about the two borders you selected to research? Name each country.   What did you learn about their border restrictions and the way they treat immigrants.  What struck you as you learned about these two borders.  Were they similar occurrences to what we know happens   on the U.S. Mexico Border? How did you feel about the U.S. after learning about this border?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *