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Critical Essay

  • Submitted by: hefqbest
  • on January 8, 2013
  • Category: English
  • Length: 7,583 words

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异化The Theme of Deviance in Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua

In the half-biographical book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Gloria Anzaldua, inter alia, touches on the problem of deviation in the modern American society. The book itself is a collection of essays and poems that relate to the experience of Anzaldua herself. Having grown up in the United States, being a Chicana, a woman and a homosexual, the author seems to have felt the issue of deviation personally. A lot of the problems explored in the essays and poems of the book are, first of all, about feeling different and being blamed for that, sensing your unfitness within the society, being unable and unwilling to conform to the social norms that you do not understand, or consider unfair. Anzaldua does an amazing job sharing and passing on her feelings and emotions to the reader, probably because every single one of those feelings and emotions is inevitably true, strong and at times, very painful.


Deviance, in simple words, is “the recognized violation of cultural norms” 文化规范(Macionis, 2006). Basically, whether something is “deviant” or not, is distinctly relative and is decided by society itself. Oftentimes, anything that is “different” is automatically considered to be deviant. Being deviant, on the other hand, is always perceived as a negative quality. Thus, everything that is different from the “average” and “normal” behavior is automatically perceived as being worse.


When it comes to cultural differences, the issue of deviance is very critical. The norms, beliefs and traditions of a foreign culture are seen as strange, weird, freaky, or simply wrong. Anzaldua touches this issue from two different sides. First of all, being a Chicana, she was deviant to the American society since her culture, the language she spoke and the way she looked, were different. Secondly, being a homosexual, she was deviant to her own culture as well, since the role of a woman in Hispanic tradition...

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