How Heart of Aztlan is a Political Text?
Rodolfo Anaya’s Heart of Aztlan, a Mexican American family migrates from their rural farm in New Mexico to a Mexican American neighborhood in Albuquerque city. The novel involves Crispin, a seer who offer spiritual guide to assist the characters deal with the problems they encounter and to help in structuring their spiritual peace, harmony, and wholeness that enable them to understand their purpose and identity. In Heart of Aztlan, Crispin enters the life of Chavez family as they face the hostile environment of the Albuquerque barrio. The main character, Chavez is spiritually connected to his land: “His soul and heart were in the earth (Anaya 16).” For generations, Chavez’s family has lived on the same land, and so literally is the “roots of his soul”. When he leaves his small rural community, Chavez represents the challenges faced by all Mexican Americans on leaving their homeland to find better economic opportunities in big cities. In the absence of homeland, the relationship established between man and the land gets lost, old traditions and customs by wayside fall, and people look like wandering gypsies with no homeland to anchor their spirit. In Heart of Aztlan, Chavez’s family not only disconnect themselves from the physical land, but also foregoes their spiritual connection; this loss creates numerous life conflicts later in the play (Anaya 24). But, how is Heart of Aztlan a political text? This essay will answer this question in the context of the novel. Further, the essay will discuss how Heart of Aztlan reflects the social-political movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
In Heart of Aztlan, attempts by Chicano politicians and artists to link the ancient Aztlan myth to present political action was a success. The Mexican American workers in the barrio of the big city increasingly grow frustrated by the manner in which railroad owners politically treat them (Jankowski 52). They encounter discrimination in recruitment practices, exposed to poor working conditions, and face bias in wage rate and salary compensation perks.