...y no se lo tragó la tierra / ...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him

( 8 )


". . . Y no se lo Trago la Tierra", in the original Spanish, is Tomas Rivera's classic novel about a Mexican-American family's life as migrant workers during the 1950s, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. Exploited by farmers, shopkeepers and even fellow Mexican Americans, the boy must forge his self identity in the face of exploitation, death and disease, constant moving and conflicts with school officials.
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". . . Y no se lo Trago la Tierra", in the original Spanish, is Tomas Rivera's classic novel about a Mexican-American family's life as migrant workers during the 1950s, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. Exploited by farmers, shopkeepers and even fellow Mexican Americans, the boy must forge his self identity in the face of exploitation, death and disease, constant moving and conflicts with school officials.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613179591
  • Publisher: San Val, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1999
  • Language: Spanish
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: Spanish/English Bilingual Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 514,316
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Customer Reviews

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( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2013

    Boring and redundant. The author suggests that he speaks for all

    Boring and redundant. The author suggests that he speaks for all migrant workers and yet only focuses on those from northern Mexico. This is just propaganda, that's it. Any of these stories could be applied to any race of people entering a new society at any time throughout history. The fact that ignorant people find this book so delightful is no big surprise. It is easily the biggest waste of time I've ever experienced. Once again, Mexicans act like everything that happened to them is special and could not at all have happened to anyone else. What a joke.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    Tomás Rivera, ".y no se lo tragó la tierra/.And the Earth Did Not Devour Him". Houston, Texas: University of Houston, Arte Publico Press, 1992. 3rd Edition. 152 pp. Translated by Evangelina Vigil-Piñón, table of c

    This book, which is written in a nontraditional way, is about many different stories about poor migrant farm workers and the hardships they go through at their job and the community they live in. The different stories describe how difficult it was for migrant workers to survive and how they struggled to adapt to a new lifestyle in the United States. The stories in this book all revolve around a boy who is growing up and is coming of age. The boy has troubles of his own such as his struggle of getting along with people in school, and questioning his faith in God. For the purposes of this book review, the reader will explore three different chapters from the book and discuss why the migrant farm workers and the boy had such troubles adapting to a new life that was hard for them to take control of.
    The first hardship I want to explore is about the boy having a hard time at school and getting expelled. This appears in the chapter entitled "It's That It Hurts." The boy doesn't like going to school because he gets stared at up and down by other children and it makes him feel uncomfortable and gets him mad. He also doesn't like going to school because they always check him for lice and it's embarrassing for him. He hates going to the nurse's office and being stripped of his clothes to get checked for lice and smearing a smelly vaseline in his hair. One day he gets in a fight at school and gets in trouble and gets expelled from school. He is afraid to go home and cannot decide what to tell his parents about why he got kicked out of school. He contemplates whether or not he should tell them at all. He worries because he knows that he will be whipped by his parents and that they will be angry and ashamed of him. He also doesn't want to let his father's hope down of him becoming a phone operator. His father always has him show off to his godfather every time he comes over and tell him to read to his godfather. He worries about letting his whole family down because he knows that they all want him to go to school, but he doesn't like it.
    It was hard for the boy to go to school because he did not like it. He did not like to be embarrassed, get in fights, or be treated unfairly by teachers and other students. It was hard for him to adapt and not get in fights at school because he would be provoked by others. By getting into fights at school he would get expelled and then have to go home and also get in trouble with his parents. By being expelled from school he would let his family down because they wanted him to go to school and his father wanted him to become a phone operator. He did not want to disappoint his family but it was very difficult not to do so because he just couldn't get along and adapt at school.
    The second hardship I want to explore is about some of the migrant workers and how they could not take care of their children while they were away working in the fields. This is made evident in the chapter entitled "The Little Burnt Victims." This chapter is about a migrant worker family of five, father, mother, and three very young children of the ages of seven, six, and five. This chapter is about how the two parents could not take care of their children while they went

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2005

    Joe Mora, Los Angeles,CA 12-28-05

    Hello my name is Joe, Recently I read a book called And the Earth Did Not Devour Him. I really enjoyd this book becuase there are alot of diffrent storie's and you read something diffrent every time you pick the book up. One of the storys is about immagrant workers, it tells you how bad they were treated and how pay was not enough for there families to live on. Another story relating a family was really tragic all of the childrens bodys were found burned. This happend by 2 brother's that were boxing, you might ask your self, (How is a fire going to start with some kids boxing?) that is why you have to read this book in other to find out. This book is really good I recommend it if you do not like reading really long and boring books. This book is filled with tragic storys, suspense storys,and mystery. It has storys for all reader's I really recommend And the Earth Did Not Devour Him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2005


    For a life to be destroyed is a simple thing, but to live in a life since you were brought on to this earth has been pre-planed to be hell, and you still and do all you can in your life, it something to be admired. In the novel, and the earth did not devour him, they have put random stories: with different situations that reflect some of the struggles that the Hispanic race has to deal with. While reading this book you start to ask the question why? Why do they just take it, and live your life like nothing is happening to them? Not many can really relate to the sort of situations brought upon you by this novel, but all can understand the emotional feelings that they struggle with. This novel brings the hard life of the Hispanic race, but also religion, comedy and good ideology. This novel catches you at the very moment, and the context of the words make you really feel like your living among them experiencing among the hard life they have to endure. This book has inspired me to read more books about my culture, and to try to change the problems that need to be change. To see this sort of problems, and not do anything about it is immoral, and wrong. Life is a blessing, but to let your life be taken away for the pleasure of another is stupid, but in their life there is no other choice. This book is one of a kind that needs to be read by others so the life struggle of these people can become an issue that needs to be recognized. History has shown others fight for their rights to be recognized and now its time for these people to gain these certain rights. I¿m not one who recommends books, but this is a book that needs to be red by all to see the struggles that life brings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2005

    Hard Workers

    I recently read a boof called And The Earth Did Not Devour Him. This book has a lot of short stories. Once i read the first one, i wanted to keep reading the next ones. This book talkes about a family who works in the fields. In this book you could find out how bad migrant workers are treated. One of the stories that i thought was sad was The Children Couln't Wait. In this short story a child and his dad were working in the field. The boss didn't let his workers go drink water until everybody got there brake. The dad didn't wanted his kid to go drink water because he was scare that the boss was going to fire him or not pay him. The kid needed water. It was really hot. The dad saw that the kid was really thirsty and he let him go drink water. He had to make sure that the boss didn't see him. The kid went to drink water but the boss had seen him. The boss decided to scare the little boy. The boss followed the kid. When the kid got to were they had the water, he was really happy. The boss had a gun and decided to scare him with a gun shot. The boss shot the gun and accidentally shot the little boy in the head. The boy was dead. The boss couldn't believed what he had done.'They say that the old man almost went crazy'. This is one of many good short stories that this book has. I would recommend this book to everyone. You wouldn't believed how hard these people work to support there families.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2004

    a moving novel about migrant workers

    In ¿And the Earth Did Not Devour Him, Tomás Rivera has crafted a moving and touching novel telling the tales of Mexican-American migrant workers in the 1940¿s and 50¿s. The novel introduces many aspects of chicano/a life such as their religion, beliefs, and the often backbreaking conditions they were forced to face. Told through a series of vignettes, Rivera captures brief moments of the character¿s lives, crystallizing them into small windows into their culture and lives. Often using stark and objective language, Rivera¿s style suitably paints an often bleak picture of the lives of the characters, who are often as anonymous as the narrator himself. Rarely does the author name his characters, further emphasizing the objectiveness of the narrator. However, the narrator himself is privy to the deepest secrets of the characters as he relates his tales of migrant workers. Using a thoroughly post-modern style, Rivera often changes perspectives and switches between first and third person. Rivera¿s style appears to draw some inspiration from James Joyce with the reader often experiences the characters¿ flow of consciousness in much the same way as Joyce¿s work in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. In addition, Rivera rarely stays with the same characters from one vignette to the next and the novel lacks a basic plot structure, instead relying on stringing together the vignettes through their common themes of oppression and the search for acceptance and a place in white culture. With the frequently changing settings and characters, Rivera¿s novel can become difficult to follow at times and occasionally feels disjointed. Instead of a straight narrative, Rivera effectively uses dialog throughout the novel to drive the stories of many of the vignettes. Whereas the narrator often feels distant as he follows the thoughts and actions of his characters, the dialog immediately sheds the objective using slang and colloquialisms, sharply contrasting with the surrounding narrative. Instead of the narrator merely informing the reader of the character¿s emotions, the dialog conveys the emotions on a much deeper, rawer level, connecting the reader with characters and drawing them into the story further. Rivera¿s use of dialog is definitely one of the stronger points in the novel. Rivera¿s unique style sets him apart from other, related works. Like many other works by chicano/a authors, Rivera¿s work exposes the hardships that migrant workers and chicanos/as in general faced in the 20th century. Works such as The Revolt of the Cockroach People by Oscar ¿Zeta¿ Acosta and Pocho by José Antonio Villarreal illustrate common themes of oppression and illustrate the struggles faced by chicanos/as. These works, though laudable on their own merits and sharing common themes, feel like much different novels than ¿And the Earth Did Not Devour Him. Rivera¿s unique style sets him apart and makes his work stand out among its peers. Drawing out the character¿s emotions with clear, uncluttered language, Rivera has written a moving novel that is accessible to most readers while also presenting strong themes and a unique style. This novel is not only a good read, but is also capable of being examined on many levels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2004

    And the Earth Did Not Devour Him¿Hidden Meanings Within the Structure

    Rivera¿s work within this powerful novel illustrates an innovative strategy of depicting his motivation for writing the book. Along with the reoccurring themes throughout his multiple short stories and excerpts, the structure of the book itself sends powerful messages about his culture that can be generalized to a range of others. Through this short book, Rivera portrays morals within each vignette of life experiences of migrant workers in the 40¿s and 50¿s, which are familiarly comparable to those in Aesop¿s Fables. Between each story is a quick scene; some never mention they are about Mexican-American families, but these short blurbs are oftentimes more powerful because of their relevance to common life situations, while giving the mind a quick breather between stories. Although most endings to the stories are tragic, Rivera bluntly ends them, without dwelling on the situations. This is one example of how his writing style suggests that much like the endings to his stories, there was not time to dwell on unfortunate occurrences in the life of Mexican-American families. They forged ahead, and prepared for the next hardship they would encounter. In one vignette, ¿The Little Burnt Victims¿, an accidental fire kills children, and the end comment of this story is, ¿You never know when your turn¿s up. My heart goes out to them, but you never know¿ (Rivera 122). These abrupt endings and quick transitions symbolize the cyclical life cycle that is continuously presenting new difficulties. With its multiple dilemmas, this book is about self assertion of identity through times of helplessness, a lesson from which we all could learn from. Rivera touches on death, defining identity in reference to a crowd, external vs. real appearance, tragedy, and segregation. With so many themes to stay focused on, the errors in the translation did not even faze me, but when examining other reviews, it seems to have been a huge issue for readers. I think the book¿s messages are too important to dwell on such minor issues as spelling, and grammatical errors. When reviewers mentioned these errors, it displayed that they were not aware of the deeper meanings being portrayed. It is obvious that Rivera wanted to instill a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Mexican-American workers and families. This is apparent in the last vignette when everything becomes italicized to draw the reader¿s attention to his ¿stream of consciousness¿. I could skim throughout the stories, but because of the device of italicized writing, I was forced to slow down, and actually comprehend what Rivera was trying to say. Far beyond relating to a culturally disadvantaged lifestyle, ¿And the Earth Did Not Devour Him initiates growth and reflections in ones¿ own life after experiencing the sympathy instilled by Rivera.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2003

    A Compelling Narrative

    Rivera unfolds a fascinating story of a young narrator as he confronts the pangs of growing up as a migrant worker. The story is very frank about the realities of migrant life ('...y la bala se entro la cabeza'), thus adding a haunting effect to the overall story. Some strong language rules out young children, but anyone mature enough to follow the plot will lavish the emotional thrillride experienced by the protagonists as they plunge deeper and deeper into a world not made for them. Tip: read the Spanish half first to appreciate some of the imagery that Rivera creates that gets lost in the translation.

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