Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza's Story / Edition 2

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Translated Woman tells the story of an unforgettable encounter between Ruth Behar, a Cuban-American feminist anthropologist, and Esperanza Hernández, a Mexican street peddler. The tale of Esperanza's extraordinary life yields unexpected and profound reflections on the mutual desires that bind together anthropologists and their "subjects."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A stunning critique and reversal of the received image of the passive and humble Mexican Indian woman. . . . Engrossing reading at the hands of a skillful interpreter. —The New York Times Book Review

"A brave and unusual work. . . . A fascinating portrait of two very different women and their intertwined struggle for identity." —The Boston Globe

"A demanding and intensely satisfying read." —Hispanic Magazine

"Engaging and insightful. . . . [Translated Woman] takes readers deep into a cross-cultural encounter. . . . A valuable and subtle book."—Choice

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1985 Behar, a feminist anthropologist working in Mexico, befriended street peddler Esperanza Hernandez, an Indian rumored to be a witch--townspeople claimed she used black magic to blind her ex-husband after he had regularly battered her and then left her for his mistress. In Behar's novelistic telling of Esperanza's life story, we meet a macha woman whose arrogance alienated her own mother, and whom Behar implausibly casts as a feminist heroine. Esperanza, who found redemption in a spiritist cult built around Pancho Villa, blames her pent-up rage for the deaths in infancy of the first six of her 12 children. She beat up her husband's lover and threw one of her sons out of the household; she also beat a daughter for refusing to support her and disowned another son for having what she considered an incestuous affair with his uncle's ex-mistress. Behar, who teaches at the University of Michigan, strains to find parallels between her own experience as a Cuban immigrant and that of her bellicose subject. Photos. (Feb.)
Library Journal
A 1988 MacArthur award winner, anthropologist Behar has worked in Mexico since 1982. Translated Woman is the story of Esperanza, a middle-aged Mexican street peddler. Behar edited her conversations with Esperanza to create a personal narrative incorporating her feminist interpretation of this working-class woman's life. Especially interesting is Esperanza's participation in a spiritualist ritual centering on Pancho Villa. Behar also discusses her relationship with Esperanza in terms of class, ethnic, and national barriers. She concludes with a chapter on her own life and career; her discussion of her ethnicity and the status of Latinas in general is excellent. Recommended for most libraries.-- Gwen Gregory, U.S. Courts Lib., Phoenix
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807046470
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 5/21/2003
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 5.95 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruth Behar-ethnographer, essayist, poet, and filmmaker-is professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellows Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Behar is the author of several books, including The Vulnerable Observer. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Talking Serpent 1
Pt. 1 Coraje/Rage 23
1 The Mother in the Daughter 27
2 The Cross of the White Wedding Dress 53
3 The Rage of a Woman 87
4 The Daughter in the Mother 108
5 Con el perdon suyo, comadre, no vaya a ser que el diablo tenga cuernos - "With Your Pardon, Comadre, Doesn't the Devil Have Horns?" 126
6 Mi hija, amarrate las faldas - "My Daughter, Tie Up Your Skirts" 156
Pt. 2 Esperanza/Redemption 167
7 The Pig in the Stream 171
8 The Stolen Eggs 179
9 Angelitos - Little Angels 189
10 Una vieja orgullosa - A Proud Woman 194
11 [actual symbol not reproducible]Viva General Francisco Villa! 203
Pt. 3 Literary Wetback 225
12 Literary Wetback 231
13 Gringa Sings the Blues 247
14 Ya sabe que estarnos vendidos a sus personas - "Now You Know That We've Been Sold to You" 257
Pt. 4 Reflejos/Reflections 267
15 Translated Woman 275
16 In the Labyrinth of the General and His History 303
17 The Biography in the Shadow 320
Notes 345
Chronology 371
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