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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   



12. Migrant
Struggle


•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
- Rudolfo A. Anaya
- Carlos Bulosan
- Robinson Jeffers
- Alberto Ríos
- Tomas Rivera
- Muriel Rukeyser
- Upton Sinclair
- John Steinbeck
- Henry David Thoreau
- Helena Maria Viramontes
- Suggested
Author
Pairings
•  Timeline
•  Activities

Authors: Tomas Rivera (1935-1984)

Pinal County, Arizona. Mexican Boy Age 13, Coming in from Cotton Field at Noon
[5979] Dorothea Lange, Pinal County, Arizona. Mexican Boy Age 13, Coming in from Cotton Field at Noon (1940), courtesy of the U.S. National Archives & Records Administration [CTL#NWDNS-83-G-41839].

Tomas Rivera Activities
This link leads to artifacts, teaching tips and discussion questions for this author.
Tomas Rivera was born in Crystal City, Texas. During his childhood, he accompanied his parents, who worked as farm laborers, on their journeys in the Midwest, from Missouri to Michigan to Minnesota. Rivera worked as a migrant farm laborer himself in the 1950s. He graduated from Southwest Texas State University with a degree in English and earned his Ph.D. in romance languages and literature from the University of Oklahoma. He was a professor of Spanish and held administrative positions at various universities, including the University of Texas at El Paso. Rivera's works include . . . y no se lo tragó la tierra/ . . . And the Earth Did Not Devour Him (1971); The Harvest (1989), a short story collection; and The Searchers (1973), a volume of collected poetry. This Migrant Earth (1987) is an English translation by Rolando Hinojosa of . . . y no se lo tragó la tierra/ . . . And the Earth Did Not Devour Him.

A number of Rivera's works explore the world of the migrant worker in America. Rivera did not view his writing as political but rather as a universal statement about the human condition. . . . y no se lo tragó la tierra/ . . . And the Earth Did Not Devour Him is considered a milestone in the Mexican American literary canon. It is written in South Texas Spanish and does not follow a chronological storyline but presents a series of stream-of-consciousness vignettes and tales that are loosely united by an anonymous child-narrator reflecting on the lives of migrant workers in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Somewhat Faulknerian in style, it deftly portrays the economic and cultural conditions experienced by Mexican American migrant workers in the years following World War II.



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