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"After Papa Died": A Mexican-American Autobiography Annotated and Edited by Shea Van Slyke

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Zoraida Ladrón de Guevarra was born in 1936 in Coyula, Mexico, a small village in the state of Oaxaca. Her father’s passing required Zoraida to find a job at age fourteen to support her family. Her story, a 200-page memoir

Zoraida Ladrón de Guevarra was born in 1936 in Coyula, Mexico, a small village in the state of Oaxaca. Her father’s passing required Zoraida to find a job at age fourteen to support her family. Her story, a 200-page memoir entitled “After Papa Died,” follows Zoraida’s time as a servant and eventual nanny in Veracruz. Flashing back to memories of her hometown and the people living in it, the story ends before she enters America first as a visitor in 1954, and later on a working Visa in 1957—the first woman in her village to leave to the United States. Hers is a story relevant today, evident with the paradoxes explored between poverty and riches, patriarchy and matriarchy, freedom and captivity. Assimilation impacts the reading of this memoir, as Zoraida began writing the memoir in her 80s (around fifty years after gaining American citizenship). This detailed family history is about the nature of memory, community, and in particular, the experience of being an immigrant. This thesis project centers on this text and includes three components: an edited memoir, informational interviews, and an introduction. Beginning as a diary steeped in the tradition of oral history, the memoir required a “translation” into a written form; chapters and chronological continuity helped with organization. Topics of interest from the story, such as identity, domestic violence, and religion, are further explored in a series of interviews with Zoraida. The inclusion of an introduction to the text contextualizes the stories documented in the memoir with supplemental information. The contents of the project are housed on a website: alongwaybabyproject.net.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Back and Forth: A Collection of Short Stories

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Back and Forth is a collection of four short stories that explore cultural elements of the Philippines through folktales, magic, and loss. Each story features main characters that are discovering how to navigate through life after something jarring happens to

Back and Forth is a collection of four short stories that explore cultural elements of the Philippines through folktales, magic, and loss. Each story features main characters that are discovering how to navigate through life after something jarring happens to them. In learning how to move on, they learn more about themselves, their culture, and their identity. In “Back and Forth,” the main character, Lita, learns about the magic of the world and how she herself possesses it, something that is passed down from her grandmother. However, she is forced to hide it away if she wants to live a normal life. When her aunt starts acting weird, it’s up to Lita to race against time and relearn the magic within. “The Viewing,” takes place in the United States, and the main character, Diwata, is a biracial woman that has to maneuver her way through a viewing for one of her favorite relatives while also being confronted by the brashness of white relatives that don’t appreciate her being a part of their family. Tala, the main character of “The Mound Dwellers,” must turn to an old legend that she had learned as a child to find her own daughter that has gone missing. Only after finally giving in and listening to her mother about what she suspects happened, does Tala begin to make progress. “Snowed In” is about a woman who is getting over the loss of her husband. She works through the grief by cooking his favorite recipe, a traditional Filipino dish, over and over again. Each time she finishes, it’s not quite right. By the end of the story, she finally perfects the recipe, and there’s nothing left for her to do but deal with her grief head-on. Each story, though not related to each other directly, features characters that have to unravel the mystery of their new identities after a major life change.

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Date Created
2019-05

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A Typical American Manner

Description

Three years ago, after skateboarding back from a calculus study session, Delaney Kranz was smushed by a car on the corner of Myrtle and University. This made her panic about the brevity of life, and, when she could walk again,

Three years ago, after skateboarding back from a calculus study session, Delaney Kranz was smushed by a car on the corner of Myrtle and University. This made her panic about the brevity of life, and, when she could walk again, she studied abroad three times, hitting eleven countries across Europe. A Typical American Manner is a record of Kranz’s sardonic and often-brutal view of the world. This collection of short stories shows the accounts of a young woman struggling to figure out her identity, to figure out the worth of introspective storytelling, and to figure what it means to be a traveler, or really, what it means to be a human being at all.

This collection was written throughout a four-year period and features stories from Arizona, England, Greece, Italy, Germany and smack-dab in the middle of Silicon Valley, California. The narrative style changes gradually over time as Kranz herself changes, notably becoming less of an edgy, angry shitlord and (a little) more of a polished writer. Kranz detests pretentiousness and is often self-admonishing to the max. She does, however, break the wall of dark humor and sarcasm to allow for a handful of tender moments of self-reflection and peace—always in bizarre settings, of course, like the middle of a Korean supermarket or in the El Paisano’s liquor and burrito store on Lemon Street. The moments are there nonetheless.

A Typical American Manner is Delaney’s story, or at least, one of them. If you read it, she hopes you like it. Or that you hate it. She hopes it makes you feel something—either way is good.

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2020-05

De aquí, de allá, de las dos: Three Women's Language Learning Journeys from Mexico to Arizona

Description

The purpose of this study is to document and analyze three women's English language learning journeys after moving from various parts of Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona. The study explores the effects of English as a Second Language (ESL) education on

The purpose of this study is to document and analyze three women's English language learning journeys after moving from various parts of Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona. The study explores the effects of English as a Second Language (ESL) education on the social and cultural development of Mexican women students at Friendly House, whose mission is to "Empower Arizona communities through education and human services". The literature review section explores such topics as the complications and history of Mexican immigration to Phoenix and of state-funded ESL education in Phoenix. The consequent research study will entail a pair of interviews with the three beginner ESL students about their lives in Mexico compared to their lives in Phoenix, with a specific focus on aspects of their language acquisition and cultural adjustment to life in Arizona. Photos of and by the consultants add to their stories and lead to a discussion about the implications of their experiences for ESL teachers. By documenting the consultants' experiences, this study finds many gaps in ESL education in Phoenix. Suggestions about how ESL programs and teaching methods can be modified to fit student's needs form the basis for the conclusions.

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Created

Date Created
2018-05

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Paraprosdokian: A Short Story Collection

Description

Paraprosdokian is a collection of stories about all different types of lives in Phoenix, AZ. There are several stories that work together, involving lonely teenagers at punk house shows, while the rest standalone: the eclectic interactions of a waiter at

Paraprosdokian is a collection of stories about all different types of lives in Phoenix, AZ. There are several stories that work together, involving lonely teenagers at punk house shows, while the rest standalone: the eclectic interactions of a waiter at a 24-hour diner, a blind fair ride operator with a propensity for accidental murder, a hapless son of a clumsy dental assistant, a literary scholar stuck in an addiction to both Kafka and pornography, a kid who learns that writing is not a formula, and a high school death that nobody cares about. Some pieces unfold parts of 21st century culture that have been knotted in ambivalence, like how men raised on pornography reconcile with intimacy, while others are as simple as trying to encapsulate the experience of growing up in what is often perceived as an artless suburbia. The project aims at mixing prose with photography to create, as Ben Lerner describes it, “a constellation of language and image”—a complete artistic product. Using the work of a local Arizona photographer, the collection complicates a reader’s elementary notion of a “picture book” by forcing the reader to view photographs beyond exposition or symbolism. The title of the collection comes from a term used in comedic rhetoric that refers to a figure of speech in which the latter part of a statement or phrase reorients one’s understanding of the whole. Under this definition, the collection seeks to amend its author and reader’s orientation to Phoenix in a quest for empathy, giving pathetic characters a chance to speak without ever sacrificing a touch of humorous joy.

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Created

Date Created
2018-05

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The Immigrant Experience

Description

Immigration policy in the United States today is complex and far-encompassing. This project aims to present it in an easily accessible way: Through the eyes of those who have experienced its effects in a deeply personal manner. This online project,

Immigration policy in the United States today is complex and far-encompassing. This project aims to present it in an easily accessible way: Through the eyes of those who have experienced its effects in a deeply personal manner. This online project, housed at http://immigrant-experience.com/, includes profiles of four people who have immigrated to the United States from other countries. The website includes graphics and multimedia elements, that help to tell their stories. It also provides information about immigration statistics, research and policy. The DREAMer who came to the country as a child, the young Mexican man on a seasonal visa, and the Eritrean refugee share in the immigrant experience, but the effects of U.S. policy on their lives are vastly different. Factors at play include age, education, country of origin and socioeconomic status. These factors are what shape the policy that dictates whether an immigrant can become an American citizen. They are also what make Gloria, Adrian and Azarya's stories so unique. It is a multitude of personal stories that collectively define the immigrant experience. These stories may be drastically different, depending on the country of origin and circumstances of each individual, but some aspects of the experience are shared. The difficulties inherent in uprooting oneself from a familiar community are common to "immigrants" of all shapes and sizes: students moving out of state for college, new hires moving to a new city, parents moving their children into a better neighborhood, etc. Through in-depth profiles of immigrants from a wide variety of backgrounds, this project highlights those shared experiences while showing the diversity of personal stories, challenging contemporary stereotypes about immigrant populations.

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Created

Date Created
2018-05

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Unathorized: A Short Film on Technology and Immigration

Description

Unauthorized confronts the relationship between technology and personhood in the modern world. More specifically, it addresses the personal and social effects of border politics within the frame of cyber crime. The short film takes place in the near future where

Unauthorized confronts the relationship between technology and personhood in the modern world. More specifically, it addresses the personal and social effects of border politics within the frame of cyber crime. The short film takes place in the near future where a hacker can create citizenship for anyone she wants, effectively turning anyone into a legal person in the United States. This parallels the real life struggles of unauthorized immigrants trying to gain a new life this side of the border despite the overwhelming backlash from the conservative and xenophobic population. The main character's ability to grant citizenship forces the viewer to confront what being a person really means. The film also alludes to the popularized antics of modern day hackers and whistleblowers who are often turned into heroes for fighting the establishment despite their character flaws. The protagonist of Unauthorized struggles through underhanded sexism and blatant racism as well as her own personal struggles with drug addiction and failed relationships. These are very real struggles women face in technology jobs and life in general. The main character's actions ultimately destroy every relationship that she's established, including the connection to her own family. This film, in short, is about the walls people build between each other, both physical and social.

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Created

Date Created
2016-05

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Playing the Changes: Four Stories of Music, Death, and the Unknown

Description

There are no words for the trauma of death when it strikes unexpectedly. What to say when a mother dies in childbirth? When a father figure contracts an unknown disease for no apparent cause? When a beloved pet, long mourned,

There are no words for the trauma of death when it strikes unexpectedly. What to say when a mother dies in childbirth? When a father figure contracts an unknown disease for no apparent cause? When a beloved pet, long mourned, may still be alive and hidden by estranged family? Generations may pass, and children may grow up, but the pain leaves marks that echo across time and the other borders we construct between our past and present. We may find strength on solitude, or prayer, or the words of a song written by someone else. In these four stories, spanning almost half a century, the marks of death and attempts to soothe or hide them are everywhere. Children on the cusp of adulthood grapple with the lives and the lies of their parents. Musicians examine the relationship of their music to the world. Legends and myths lurk in the shadows, tempting with false hope and rationalizing the unexplainable.
In “Playing the Changes,” we meet two men stranded in a small desert town in 1972, a time when their attraction to each other is still dangerous. Nile Walker is a jazz musician, running from a spurned lover and the law. Benji Garza is a once-devout Catholic, fixing cars and caring for his orphaned nephew, Hector. Walker and Garza’s affair will spin both lives and their heredity into sweeping tragedies that characters battle with lust and melody. Walker has a son he never meets, a drifter who finds connection with another lost soul at an airport in “La Petite Mort.” Hector is forced into early adulthood in “The Words,” when his ailing uncle’s health fails due to a mysterious disease not yet called AIDS. Later Tre—a young man struggling with the weight of his own lineage—meets him in “PHX.” These stories examine questions of death’s causes and its myriad effects, and offer this solution: Knowing that we cannot know everything, and living, loving, and singing anyway.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Long Exhalations

Description

This creative project consists of three short stories with a common theme of release, letting go, and exhalation. Nymphal Instar is a story about Tommy, a young boy, and his encounter with his uncle, a troubled man who has just

This creative project consists of three short stories with a common theme of release, letting go, and exhalation. Nymphal Instar is a story about Tommy, a young boy, and his encounter with his uncle, a troubled man who has just returned from war. The story explores the idea of growth and maturation, and the ability to move past and let go of trauma. A Cat Goes Away is about a young man, Richard, who is required to simultaneously deal with the loss of his cat and the suicide attempts of his sister. He also runs into his sister's ex-husband and is forced to deal with him. The story explores the difficulty in recognizing one's own emotions and the importance of knowing the difference between what one can change and what one cannot. Since Diagnosis is a story about Kate, a woman who has just been diagnosed with cancer and who is unable to tell her loved ones. The story explores acceptance and the idea that letting go can allow one to live more fully. Though the three stories are disparate in their characters and events, they share a commonality in their endings and in the final realizations of the characters. There is a focus on the importance of breath and breathing, and the essentiality of acceptance and release.

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Date Created
2016-05