... y no se lo trago la tierra ... and the Earth Did Not Devour Him by Tomas RiveraTomas Riveras original Spanish-language novel plus a new translation into English by Evangelina Vigil-Pinon. ...y no se lo trago la tierra won the first national award for Chicano literature in 1970 and has become the standard literary text for Hispanic literature classes throughout the country. It is now an award-winning, motion picture entitled And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him.
?Se la trago la tierra!
Criticism of religion in “y no se lo trago la tierra”
Unquestionably, Tomas Rivera is criticizing the role that religion plays in the lives of the migrant workers. Since religion is an inherent part of the lives of the characters, it is inevitably a part of almost every story. And Rivera seems to think that religion is one of the oppressive factors keeping the migrant workers in the vicious cycle of a troublesome life full of exploitation and suffering. He criticizes the Church on a moral level: the chapter in which the protagonist sees the nun and the priest making love in the sastreria puts emphasis on its hypocrisy. The young man is trying to find out who he is, his place in society, and religion is a huge obstacle to this.
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Our guest blogger is Memo. Memo works at the Central Library. Besides reading history and literature about Latinos, workers, and immigrants, he enjoys re-reading the great literary works of nineteenth and twentieth-century realist writers. What makes a literary work an American classic? Clearly, there is no one answer to this question.
It is made up of fourteen short stories and thirteen vignettes. The stories and vignettes that follow are fragmented, lack chronology and lack consistency in characters. The last short story, "Under the House", ties all of these stories together by presenting them as the memories of the male protagonist, who seems to become empowered by the act of remembering. Rivera said he had trouble getting his works published at first, and said some of his manuscripts were probably rejected because he was Chicano. Rivera sent manuscripts everywhere and he said he received "thousands" of rejections before winning the Quinto Sol award and publishing his novel the subsequent year. And the Earth Did Not Part.