63 pages 2 hours read

Américo Paredes

George Washington Gómez: A Mexicotexan Novel

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1990

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Important Quotes

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“‘I remember,’ said Gumersindo. ‘Wachinton. Jorge Wachinton.’

‘Guálinto,’ said he grandmother, ‘what a funny name.’

‘Like Hidalgo, eh?’ said Feliciano.

‘Yes. Once he crossed a river while it was freezing. He drove out the English and freed the slaves.’

‘I wish the English would have stayed,’ said Feliciano. ‘I met an Englishman once, and he was a good man. Muy gente.’”


(Part 1, Chapter 2, Page 16)

The Gómez family decides on Guálinto’s name. Gumersindo, María, and the grandmother are satisfied, but Feliciano has doubts. The family also displays their mere rudimentary awareness of Washington’s accomplishments. Feliciano questions whether Washington’s accomplishments were in fact good at all.

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“It would be very hard to keep such a terrible truth from this male child. Never to tell him how his father died, never to give him a chance at vengeance. That was a hard task, and it was not fair to the boy either. For after all, what were men for but to live and die like men. What would he give to have a son who would avenge him if some day he were at last killed by the rinches?


(Part 1, Chapter 5, Page 31)

Feliciano is anxious due to the immensity of the task that lies before him: caring for María and her children without his mother’s or Gumersindo’s assistance. He also worries about what damage keeping Gumersindo’s secret from Guálinto will do to the boy’s manhood. His narrow view of masculinity will continue to weigh heavily on Guálinto throughout the boy’s childhood.

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“His mother tried to calm his fears with religion. Everybody believed, with the possible exception of his Uncle Feliciano, who seemed to believe in nothing. However, he did not interfere with his mother’s teaching religion to her son. So the boy learned a whole rosary of paternosters, aves and credos to protect him from evil. He wore a tin likeness of the Virgin hung around his neck on a string, and he was taken to church on Sundays, where he learned more about Hell than about Heaven.”


(Part 2, Chapter 4, Page 51)

Guálinto suffers from an overactive imagination that keeps him from sleeping at night. María, leaning heavily on her religion, takes Guálinto to church and surrounds him with protective holy symbols in an attempt to inspire his courage. They do little to help him sleep, instead inspiring more visions and terrors. That Guálinto learns more about Hell than Heaven speaks his culture’s emphasis on negative reinforcement during this period. Guálinto will encounter more negative reinforcement in school.

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