Using Art, Film, and Literature to explore the Hispanic identity
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The literature component is the most important part of this unit, since the students are being prepared for written tests that show their language proficiency and their familiarity with the recommended AP authors. By AP authors, I mean the traditional five, to be found in the AP Literature test, which are Jorge Luis Borges, Federico García Lorca, Ana María Matute, Gabriel García Márquez, and Miguel de Unamuno. This list has been expanded, as noted in the Appendix, and this unit includes some of the authors in the expanded list for the Spanish AP Literature test: Julia de Burgos, Nicolás Guillén, and Carlos Fuentes. In the 2000 Spanish AP Literature test, the essay question was to discuss the theme of violence in some of the works of Jorge Luis Borges. The AP Spanish Language test does not test familiarity with any particular author, but students are expected to read excerpts which may include AP authors, and answer multiple choice questions, and students are expected to study the AP authors in their development of language proficiency.
In this unit, students are expected to read selected authors, dissect the literature, analyze the themes and styles and connect the literature to the art viewed. The authorsI have included in this unit are Jorge Luis Borges, Julia de Burgos, Julio Cortázar, Miguel Cervantes, Carlos Fuentes, Federico García Lorca, Gabriel García Márquez, and Nicolás Guillén. They share an interest in depicting different ethnic origins in their works, and in one way or another reveal the Spanish and Latin American culture. The three Hispanic races or ethnicities are the Spanish, the Native American, and the African. Some authors, such as Julia de Burgos, Federico García Lorca, Nicolás Guillén and Carlos Fuentes, markedly refer to their ethnic origins, whereas others, such as Jorge Luis Borges, are not known for their ethnic statements but nevertheless depict variants of the Argentinean culture, such as the gaucho, the exotic immigrant or outsider, and the citified European Argentinean. Gabriel García Márquez uses magical realism to create a world teeming with different colors, sounds, and customs, and derives his inspiration from the Colombian perspective which by definition is a mixture of ethnic identities. The last component is the film component, which supports and deepens the student's understanding of the literature.