Labored and Laboring Manhood in Américo Paredes’s George Washington Gomez and Jovita González and Eve Raleigh’s Caballero
Chapter four turns to two novels, now widely accepted as part of the Latino “canon” and central modernist texts, to argue for a form of Mexican Ameircan manhood that rewrites citizenship as non-migratory labor. As part of a national literature, this economic citizenship urges pragmatic integration through economic cooperation. By championing the economic capacity of Latinos not as laborers but as managers, inventors, and entrepreneurs, these texts engage with early twentieth-century ideals about productivity and the division of labor, critiquing notions of the so-called “self-made man” and refashioning Mexican American manhood as a model for the national citizen. Economic citizenship seeks a place within the structures of capitalism that dominated social life and to dissociate Mexican Americans from ideas of migration and transience that characterized discourses of labor so often associated with ethnic Mexicans. To do so, it examines the minor or marginalized characters in these novels.
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