63 pages 2 hours read

Américo Paredes

George Washington Gómez: A Mexicotexan Novel

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1990

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Themes

Personal and Regional Bicultural Identity Conflicts

Bicultural identity conflict is the core theme around which the plot of George Washington Gómez revolves. The two cultures in question are Anglo-Texan and Tejano, colloquially referred to most often in the book as “Gringo” and “Mexicotexan.”

As Texas was historically a part of Mexico (formerly New Spain) from the 16th through the 19th century, a significant portion of the population was Spanish-speaking and shared more in common with Mexican culture than American. The novel explores the aftermath of America’s annexation and economic and cultural takeover of the area, where its new white citizens’ racist society butts up against the preexisting Mexican culture.

Certain characters within the story—such as Feliciano, María, the Texas Rangers, and many of Guálinto’s teachers—are born and raised solidly on one side or the other of this divide. These characters are more adaptable within the region’s struggles due to their clearer minds and, at times, the nobler intentions they carry in the ways they address the conflict. Their disregard, dismissiveness, or simple lack of experience with individuals and communities of the culture adjoining their own often blind or handicap them in their endeavors. Feliciano’s hatred for all “Gringos” remains as sharp after he finds economic success in Jonesville as it was when he hunted Rangers with the sediciosos, and though he learns to suppress and work around that hatred, it continues to weigh heavily on him throughout his life.

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