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Chicano/a Identity and Disability in Moraga’s Heroes and Saints

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2010, 23(3), pp.77-100
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

김영덕 1

1경북대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper analyzes Moraga’s body politics manifested in her interweaving of disability and Chicano/a identity in Heroes and Saints, focusing on how the main character’s disability as an unavoidable “physical reality” informs her experience of embodiment and intersects with other identity categories like race and gender to form multiple locations of pain and oppression. Cerezita’s disabled Chicana body is subjected to multiple forms of pain based on her disability, race, and gender, and thus becomes the medium through which she experiences and interprets the world. The play revolves around the struggle of the Chicano community against farm owners culminating in the protest procession at the end of the play, which concomitantly completes the transformation of Cerezita from a bodiless “head” to a political and religious leader who envisions and embodies a collective Chicano identity. The emphasis on this “essentialized” Chicano identity, however, is counterbalanced by the presence of the non-normative bodies of Cerezita, Mario, and Juan, who inhabit the locations where their multiple identities cause “contradictions” in their experience. Although racial identity politics is presented as an important tool in social protest, the marginalized characters’ differences and desires are not completely erased or silenced. As disability cuts across all cultural divides in the pesticide-contaminated community, it sits at the core of their embodied experience. As such, the play foregrounds the complex ways in which race and disability interact with each other and offers a new insight into identity configurations.

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