63 pages 2 hours read

Américo Paredes

George Washington Gómez: A Mexicotexan Novel

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1990

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Character Analysis

Guálinto Gómez García

The novel’s title character is loaded with contradictions. From his earliest days, Guálinto is shown to be alternately cowardly and courageous; selfish and generous; loving and hateful. Most of these oppositional ways of being are illustrated as the results of his bicultural performance: he is “Mexicotexan” by birth and speaks Spanish at home but inherits a lighter skin color from his father and is embedded in white culture via his education. This duality is the source of much of his pain and angst throughout Guálinto’s young life, and his reconciliation of the two sides of his personality, becomes the most vital quest of his character.

In the end, Guálinto chooses to embrace his white—or in Jonesville’s terms, “Spaniard”—identity and abandon his “Mexicotexan” heritage altogether.

His reasons for doing so are complicated, and his path to this choice is in no way a straight line. In terms of the oppositional forces within him, all are present within each citizen of Jonesville, regardless of race: His white namesake is considered as brave and noble as the Tejano revolutionaries he idolizes; the rinches are said to be cruel just as his uncle Lupe is eventually revealed to have been; some of his white teachers are supportive just as Miss Cornelia is cruel and humiliating; and his own mother displays a contradictory nature when she goes from caring for and loving him to lashing out violently against his sisters.

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