Essay about El Mesquite, b Elena Zamora O'Shea

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Through the voice of Palo Alto, a mesquite tree, Elena Zamora O’Shea relates the story of one Spanish-Mexican family’s history, spanning over two hundred years, in South Texas, the area encompassing between the Nueces and the Rio Grande. As the narration of the Garcia’s family history progresses through the different generations, becoming more Mexican-American, or Tejano, peoples and things indigenous gradually grow faint. In her account of South Texas history, Elena devalues the importance and impact of Indians, placing a greater precedence on the Spanish settlers.
In Elena’s own introduction to the novel, she recalls an empty, inhabited American West and questions why the forefathers of South Texas have been forgotten:

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Similarly, the Arrastrado can be a representation of the Indians at the bottom of the hierarchy, since the Fathers think of them as savages and a “little lazy.” While the Mesquite Rosillos counterpart are the Spaniards, depicting the superiority of the Spaniards over the Indians. Hence, only after the Spaniards name the mesquite “La Posta del Palo Alto” does the mesquite, take more pride in itself, since it has been worthy of being named and recognized for its finer qualities by the Spaniards. Through the continuation of the novel, the partiality of the mesquite for the Spaniards is perceptible, further depreciating the Indians. For instance, after Pat moved his family to Mier and left the best-liked peon, Juan Vasquez as the boss, “the rancho was surely a dead thing without the master and his family,” thought the mesquite. “The white crosses on the hillside were [his] only companions” (Zamora O’Shea 48). As a result, the narrator chose to only identify with the dead Garcias rather than to attempt to establish relations with the peones left at the rancho or the indigenous peoples who pass by to engage in trade. The mesquite’s dismissal of the Indians may be due to the lack of refinement of the indigenous

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