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

5. Masculine

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
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Activities: Author Activities

Corridos - Teaching Tips

Back Back to Corridos Activities
  • After your students read the featured corridos in their English translations (located in the archive), ask them to look at the Spanish lyrics as you play a recording of a corrido being performed. Even if they do not understand Spanish, they can focus on the rhythm and repetition of sounds in the original corrido through the lyrics. Ask them to think about how the music influences the effect of the ballad and what is lost in the English translation. Since this musical genre will be unfamiliar to many students, it might also be useful to play some political protest music that may be more familiar to them--sixties folk songs, for example. You can also ask students to compare the corrido in form and content to English-language ballads from the same region and era, for example, "The Dying Cowboy" and "The Dying Ranger." What rhetorical strategies does each use to develop sympathy (pathos) and to emphasize the moral character (ethos) of the protagonist?

  • Traditionally, corridos are composed by men, performed by men, and written about men. Ask students to consider how ideals of masculinity inform the corridos in the archive. What makes the male subject a hero? How does he deal with adversity, capture, or defeat? How is masculinity tied to ethnicity in these corridos? Ask your students to pay attention not only to the corridos' portraits of the courageous deeds of their heroes, but also to their descriptions of men who cry and men who complain.

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