88 pages 2 hours read

Tomás Rivera

And The Earth Did Not Devour Him

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1971

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Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

1. Consider the public perception of immigration throughout US history. Overall, is immigration perceived positively or negatively in the US? In general, how is the public perception of migration presented by the mass media?

Teaching Suggestion: Since the novel’s publication in 1971, people migrating to the US—particularly those from below the US-Mexico border—have received considerable attention in the US media. The media narrative that surrounds migrants and refugees’ entering the US is generally negative, usually relying on rhetoric that increased migration from “other” (i.e., Global South) countries increases crime and criminality, reduces employment opportunities for US citizens, and increases financial dependency on the government.

Although US demographics are largely comprised of migrated individuals, similar narratives have been used historically for incoming migration flows; examples include Irish migration in the mid-19th century, Chinese and Japanese migrants in the late 19th century, and Eastern Europeans in the late 19th century/early 20th century. Rivera’s novel alludes to these negative connotations throughout the text, such as the lack of dignity that the “bosses” have for their workers, believing their efforts and lives are expendable.