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Tomás Rivera Biography

(1935–84), y no se lo trago la tierra / And the Earth Did Not Part

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: John Rhode to Jack [Morris] Rosenthal Biography

Chicano novelist and poet, born in Crystal City, Texas, educated at the University of Oklahoma. He is best known for the novel … y no se lo trago la tierra / And the Earth Did Not Part (1971), a story-cycle recounted as the dying words of a Chicano elder who recalls through the persona of an unnamed child the racial conflicts that have shaped the identity of his ethnic community. The novel is characterized by a fragmented style which shifts from realism to dream sequences to portray the life of an anonymous migrant farmworker from the protagonist's highly subjective point of view. The relationship between the solitary life of the individual and a growing collective sense of solidarity among dispossessed workers is powerfully dramatized. The novel represents a successful literary response to the Chicano civil rights movement of the late 1960s. It was reconstructed with added material, according to Rivera's original intention, by Rolando Hinojosa-Smith and published as This Migrant Earth (1985). Other works include Always and Other Poems (1973) and The Harvest Stories (1989), a posthumous volume of short fiction.

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