Analysis Of Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories

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In her assessment of Gilbert Hernandez’ seminal work, Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories, Jennifer Glaser makes a number of claims about the ultimate meaning behind the work and how it relates to the larger work of transnational authors. Glaser asserts that Palomar is an important piece of transnational exploration; Through the lens of the somewhat mystical town of Palomar,Hernandez explores race, gender, class and the still unfolding effects of cultural imperialism. Glaser also argues that Palomar acts a sort of incubator to work through Hernandez clearly conflicted feelings about being a Mexican American. The Heartbreak Stories are a personal reflective thought piece that Hernandez uses to delve into the clearly conflicted feelings he has …show more content…
Glaser points out that Heartbreak Soup was written at the height of the Cold War which had far reaching effects on Central and South America. Historically Latin America has, been a continent touched by conflict and victim to the whims of others.The Spanish Empire, the Soviet controlled Cuba, and more relevant to the time of Heartbreak Soup’s publication the United States’ involvement in overthrowing governments in South and Central America. Hernandez uses both overt and subtle ways to represent the influence of Globalization and invasion in Palomar. The most overt examples of these invaders are Luba invades Chelos turf and steals her customers, then the town’s invasion of White archeologists and tourists, and finally the screaming hordes of bloodthirsty monkeys. More subtle examples are the referencing of Disneyland as a metaphor for the whole of the US, changing ideas of what is acceptable for women to wear, and the escape of Pipo and Tonantzin to the US. Glaser uses the example of Tonantzins’ eventual turn to political reactionary as a way to explain Hernandez 's feelings about the repercussions of the Cold War as well as the forceful repression of indigenous culture. “Tonatzin...returns to a tribal dress that recalls her indigenous ancestors when she becomes fearful about the apocalyptic repercussions of the Cold War...To Tonantzin, this performance of origins responds to the …show more content…
The most obvious ways this is represented in Heartbreak Soup are the changing ideals of dress and sexuality. Though Glaser speaks at length about how US attitudes on what is acceptable dress affect the residents of Palomar - specifically the introduction of pants and Pipo’s career in the US fashion industry, she misses an opportunity to delve into Hernandez representation of women in Chicano culture. Hernandez’ women are a very complex bunch. They are rough and bawdy, but also prim and proper. They hold positions of power but are weak and easily taken advantage of. Glaser hints at this complex relationship, for instance, when she talks about Luba as an “Amazonian,” (Glaser, Chapter 12) and in a few other minor references but given the deep rooted ideas of female subjugation that plagues the Latin world it is striking that she doesn’t spend time talking about Hernandez’ treatment of his female characters. So many of the female inhabitants of Palomar are central authority figures. Chela is a respected midwife and sheriff, Carmen is a voice of calm rationality, and even Luba eventually becomes mayor. Despite that, they are constantly being taken advantage of, and are overcome by their own hypersexuality. All of these explorations of how women are treated in the Latin world are so tied to changing cultural ideals and the threatened male

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