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

5. Masculine

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Activities: Author Activities

Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton - Teaching Tips

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  • The Squatter and the Don was originally published under the pseudonym "C. Loyal," shorthand for the term "Cuidado Leal" (Loyal Citizen), a conventional closing used in official government correspondence in nineteenth-century Mexico. Ask students to think about why Ruiz de Burton might have adopted this pen name. How does it resonate with her novel's critique of American political structures? Does this pseudonym suggest that she continued to see herself as a Mexican citizen even after her decision to become an American? Or was she reformulating the Mexican ideal of "loyal citizenship" within an American context?

  • Ruiz de Burton wrote and published both of her novels in English even though many of her central characters were Latino. Given this information, ask students to consider what kind of audience Ruiz de Burton envisioned for her novels. To whom was she addressing her critiques of American society? Why might she have chosen this audience? How did she work to make her stories—and her political points—appealing to English-speaking readers?

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