Elmer's English 304 Magazine
by Elmer G. Wiens
In Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail, Rubén Martinez describes his trip from Mexico City to Cheran, a typical Mexican town of the state of Michoacán, to interview the family of three Chávez brothers, migrant workers killed in a recent accident near Los Angeles. In the luxurious bus to Zamora, the state's capital, Martinez reflects on the country's Indian-European history, and pictures his Mexican born grandparents and his Americanized father pedaling knick-knacks purchased in L.A. from their truck on visits home. Martinez describes the brother's funeral, and the devastated Chávez family's house, neighbours, and enduring migrant spirit -- a dominant trait of the Purépechas Indians.
In Macho!, Victor Villaseñor tells the story of Roberto Garcia, a strapping seventeen year old Michoacán-Indian, who emigrates illegally to the U.S.A. with his experienced, ailing mentor, Juan Anguilar, to work on the huge vegetable farms of California. Roberto experiences sex and love, and the partners survive many spine-tingling escapades triggered by their macho spirit and get-rich schemes. But, Roberto's loyalty to his family is betrayed. After his father squandered the money Roberto sent home, Pedro, Roberto's enemy, murdered his father. Roberto, now a man and full-fledged norteño, and Anguilar return to their pueblo to revenge Roberto's father's death.
Martinez, Rubén. Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail. New York: Metropolitan, 2001
Villaseñor, Victor. Macho!. New York: Dell, 1991.