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Reading: Between Mith and Utopia: A Human Search for Carlos Fuentes’ Cristal Frontier

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Essay

Between Mith and Utopia: A Human Search for Carlos Fuentes’ Cristal Frontier

Author:

Aggie Schwayder

University of Montana
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Abstract

Carlos Fuentes’s The Crystal Frontier weaves through nine stories, each of which represents an allegorical version of Mexican (non-) identity. Underlying each tale is a landscape of economic prowess created and controlled by a Mexican entrepreneur: Leonardo Barroso (also know as the Godfather). Barroso’s powerful image is built on his ability to operate within the same framework as a wealthy American citizen. Though this offers him a unique level of superficial freedom, Fuentes demonstrates that this does not necessarily mean he is free to choose an authentic identity. Ultimately, as Barroso upholds the image that his economic power provides, the hollowness of his identity is exposed. At the same time, Barroso’s relationships and interactions with individuals on both sides of the Mexamerican (northern Mexican) border also reveal the invisible barriers surrounding the marginalized voices of Mexico (Van Delden 174). As a nation trapped by the strong presence of America’s economy, Mexico remains passive and paralyzed in a cyclical pattern of mythical appropriation. Fuentes shows that in Mexico’s contemporary relationship with the United States, Mexico’s identity has been lost. Nevertheless, Fuentes acknowledges that there is hope for Mexico. Buried in limbo between the bordering nations, a self-determined nation awaits a return to the earth. Fuentes digs beneath the self-destructing Mexican identities to reveal an imaginable community of justice, dignity, and authenticity.

How to Cite: Schwayder, A., (2010). Between Mith and Utopia: A Human Search for Carlos Fuentes’ Cristal Frontier. Middle Atlantic Review of Latin American Studies. 24(2), pp.95–102. DOI: http://doi.org/10.23870/102
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Published on 01 Jan 2010.
Peer Reviewed

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