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Voices of a Chicano Movement: The Novel 'Puppet'

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The Chicano movement was a movement that inspired thousands of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans to boldly take a stand against discrimination oppression. For years, the Chicano movement fought for Mexicans’ rights. Puppet a Chicano novel embraces code-switching as a liberating combination that helps the characters escape duality and preconceptions in order to constitute a new Chicano identity. A novel is purposely made bilingual as a way to rebel against the Anglo society.

“We are a synergy of two cultures with various degrees of Mexicanness or Angloness. I have to internalize the borderland conflict that sometimes I feel like one cancels out the other and we are meaningless nothing. Growing up Mexican-American I always knew I was different, I stood out not just because of the color of my skin or because I was a woman it was something else that was always there but not quite seen or understood. I was different because of the responsibilities and burden that I was given the moment I came into this world. Caught between two worlds, with two customs, two languages and two very different perspectives, I was always caught in the middle not knowing which way was best.

Family dynamics always set the role of what a young lady should be like, act like, and where she stands in society and in her family. Culture forms our beliefs. We perceive the version of reality that it communicates. Mujeres dominantes, con conceptos, predefined concepts that exist as unquestionable, unchallenged, are transmitted to us through culture. As a young girl, I was always asked to act proper, be respectful, and obey my elders. This wasn’t anything new to me, it was how I was raised for as long I could remember. As I grew older, I began to form my own ideas and opinions. Listening and obeying are two very different things; I was never good at either. Despite my mother always implanting those traditions from a young age I always questioned why, why must I listen and obey traditions I didn’t necessarily understand or agree with. That is when I developed my double-consciousness, at the age of fifteen I knew there were cultural values I wanted to keep just like there were traditions I wanted to get rid of. Developing my mestiza consciousness at such a young age was difficult, my parents didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand what was not to get.

“The new mestiza copes by developing a tolerance for contradictions, a tolerance for ambiguity. She learns to be an Indian in Mexican culture, to be Mexican from an Anglo point of view. She learns to juggle cultures. She has a plural personality, she operates in a pluralistic mode—nothing is thrust out, the good the bad and the ugly, nothing rejected, nothing abandoned. Not only does she sustain contradictions, but she also turns the ambivalence into something else. Developing what worked for me and how I was going to implant these beliefs was not easy, to this day it is a constant struggle. It is difficult because one part of me wants to keep following the cultural traditions my ancestors before me have left, and the other part of me, my American side wants to lead by example and be a role model for my younger sisters. Although I know that keeping those traditions alive will make my parents happy, I also know that some of those traditions prevented and scared me at times from reaching my full potential. I don’t want to completely cut ties with my culture but I also don’t want to completely assimilate. Being caught in the middle can get difficult and can cause a strain between the familia and myself. Although I know I will continue some of my cultural values and traditions I also know that I must assimilate in some ways in order to survive in a predominately white male-dominated society. Being Mexican- American in America today means working twice as hard to prove there is more to you than brown skin, gang influence, and the famous illegal stereotype that follows you. Being brown is hard, but being brown with ovaries in America today is like having an imprint on your forehead that says: un-educated, welfare seeker, and another statistic. Slowly creating a wedge between our own selves, we assimilate without noticing we are doing it. In a sense creating another version of ourselves, the Anglo version. This comes from our own intuition a sixth sense, this is often created by what we witness from others. Reading body language, tone and facial expressions help create that Anglo version of ourselves like a reflex, without noticing it. Longing to belong, wanted to fit in and craving to keep those traditions can create barriers along the way. But if there is anything that I have learned is that borderlines will exist no matter what, the hard part is where you choose to stand and if you are willing to choose a side or decide for yourself.

In my culture or any Latino culture, selfishness is condemned, especially on women; humility and selflessness are considered a virtue” Stop, what are you doing, why don’t you help out more, leave it alone, that’s not how I want it done, don’t bother doing it if you’re not going to do it the right way. Growing up in a traditional Mexican household, gender roles were always applied, coming from a household with three sisters my father always expected housework to be done without his help. While my mother, myself and my sisters divided the housework he did nothing but critique. Stuck between two cultural identity roles one with beliefs of a women’s place is in the home and the second with; this is America if you don’t like something change it. I was facing possible conflicts and arguments between listening to my father and my mestiza double consciousness. The simple act of doing something for myself first was seen as selfish. There is more to me than my skin color, there is more to me than my physical traits, and there is more to me than my gender. Bordering on the road of self-discovery is not easy but nothing worth working for is ever easy. Taking inventory of my life has been the best and hardest task thus far but I refuse to run away, I refuse to surrender and I refuse to allow a devaluation of my people and from my people define who I am and I am building to be. Living in the greatest nation in the world also known as the land of opportunities can also be seen as the land of the great obstacles. We live in a nation that was founded by immigrants for immigrants, yet something as brutal as going back where you came from still exists today. But, I am in my homeland my parents may have come in illegally, but I was born and raised in America this is my home.

Controlling my tongue is having control over what language I choose to speak in, telling me speaking Spanish is not allowed is asking to control a part of my identity that speaks for itself. America wants you to do this, American wants you to do that and America frowns upon people like this, people like you. Just like a dentist tells you what to eat, how to floss, and how you should brush your teeth. America does the same by informing us what color we should be, what gender is more respected and what we should realistically strive for. Pulling out the metal from my mouth is pulling out my cultural values, pulling out my morals, telling me who I am is not enough and I should change it to be accepted. Why, why should I conform into something I am not and something I will never be. For what, to please them. What about me? What about us? What about my people, are we not enough, are we not American enough, or is my skin too brown that you feel threatened by it? “So, if you want to really hurt me, talk badly about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity—I am my language. I am the product of my people, our Chicano movement I am the pride of being Chicana, I am who I am, and I am the future of what many may despise for many different reasons. To many, I will be one of two things invisible or a threat, a hero or a burden to society.

At times I feel lost with no direction, at a tipping point. Where can I go, who am I, is this me, am I really, what is happening, is this reality or is this all an illusion of who I really am and who I want to be. I don’t care, I can’t see so what does it matter if I go left, right or straight ahead. Nothing is clear or am I wrong and all these images are a clear depiction of who I am. These pathways are covered with mist so deep that any clear vision is clouded, no direction but the one I hear and the one I paint. I didn’t create this world of mist, darkness, and uncertainty, they created it for me, I am who I am because of my surroundings and my ancestors.

“I am visible—see this green eyes brown face—yet I am invisible. But I exist, we exist, we are the movement our people fought for. They say we are dirty, criminals, thieves, and are stealing from the white man. If being brown and beautiful makes me dirty than I would rather be filthy. If speaking my mind and conquering a white man’s world scares you then get ready to be terrified because I refuse to sit back and watch while life passes me by. If being a student and a worker of this nation makes me a thief than put me in jail, because only then will I stop moving, stop hustling and stop existing. They want us to destroy ourselves, to turn on one another, and forget who we are, and to forget what we each individually stand for, but that won’t work. I am mestiza and I am visible, I may be a woman but don’t count me out I may not have it all, but I have one thing you can’t take away from me. You can’t and you won’t take away my self-respect, I am blood from my people, a fighter that despite burden, despite assimilation and despite your oppression, I will not be silenced, I was born into a borderline and I am the commander and chief, I call the shots not you.   

Overall “Puppet” novel introduces us to this Chicano movement with emotions, pain, and death. In this novel, we meet puppet a young man who was enjoying life and killed by the police during the Chicano movement.

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Voices of a Chicano Movement: the Novel ‘Puppet’. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from
“Voices of a Chicano Movement: the Novel ‘Puppet’.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2023,
Voices of a Chicano Movement: the Novel ‘Puppet’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Mar. 2023].
Voices of a Chicano Movement: the Novel ‘Puppet’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Feb 11 [cited 2023 Mar 26]. Available from:
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