Representations of Citizenship in Chicano Culture

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Representations of Citizenship in Chicano Culture In her article, Anne Shea touches upon many imperative issues concerning immigration law, labor rights and boundless human resilience. She gives readers a very intimate and authentic perspective of the countless struggles farmworkers experience on a daily basis. In relation, to Helena Maria Viramontes’ Under the Feet of Jesus, Anne Shea provides a historical framework to the novel to provide an enhanced understanding of why immigrant life is so tumultuous for so many. While we feel for the characters in Viramontes’ Under the Feet of Jesus, readers may not fully grasp the reality of the portrayed circumstance without further insight. Through her article, Shea examines narratives regarding migrant workers and employs testimonies to expose veracities that are masked my larger society. In addition, Shea conveys the strong messages that are embedded within Under the Feet of Jesus. She states, “…Viramontes not only critiques the prevailing discourses of criminality that serve to legitimize the exploitation of migrant workers but also offers tools for intervention into the current legal and representational practices that seek to define migrant workers through essentializing race and gender stereotypes” (124). In backing of the novel, Shea goes on to discuss the H-2 program in great detail, giving readers a close look into the severity of the situation in the United States. The H-2 program, a system that protected growers and restricted migrant workers to low wages, nearly stripped workers of all human rights. Workers were forced to succumb to deplorable treatment, wages and working conditions in fear of being sent “back to Mexico." Carmelo Flores a farmworker, who suffered brain damage in result of heat stroke, serves as an unfortunate example as to employer disregard for the welfare of their workers. Shea

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