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By Mario T. García

Professor Luis Leal is without doubt one of the most eminent students of Mexican, Latin American, and Chicano literatures and the dean of Mexican American intellectuals within the usa. He was once one of many first senior students to understand the viability and value of Chicano literature, and, via his perceptive literary feedback, helped to legitimise it as a valuable box of analysis. His contributions to humanistic studying have introduced him many honours, together with Mexico's Aquila Azteca and the us' nationwide Humanities Medal. during this testimonio, or oral heritage, Luis Leal displays upon his youth in Mexico, his highbrow formation at Northwestern collage and the collage of Chicago, and his paintings and guides as a pupil on the college of Illinois and the collage of California, Santa Barbara. via insightful questions, Mario Garcia attracts out the connections among literature and heritage which were a first-rate concentration of Leal's paintings. He additionally elicits Leal's review of a number of the sought after writers he has identified and studied, together with Mariano Azuela, William Faulkner, Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, Juan Rulfo, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges, Tomas Rivera, Rolando Hinojosa, Rudolfo Anaya, Elena Poniatowska, Sandra Cisneros, Richard Rodriguez, and Ana Castillo. Mario T. Garcia is Professor of background and Chicano reviews on the college of California, Santa Barbara.

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S. possession. In your unit, were there many Mexican Americans? No, very few. Most of my unit was composed of young men from the Midwest. There were many other Chicanos, however, in other battalions. Were your experiences generally positive in the army, or did you face any kind of discrimination? Mostly positive, but there was one incident of discrimination. My lieutenant wanted me to apply for officer’s training school while we were on the Philippines. I was given an interview. But during the interview, the members of the committee started asking me all sorts of questions about Mexico and Mexican politics.

No, I didn’t, and I don’t recall that my friends did either. But was there a clearly defined Mexican barrio in Chicago? There was. You could find Mexican restaurants, barber shops, book stores, grocery stores, and, of course, the Church. Did the presence of the Mexican barrio in Chicago help ease your transition? Yes, it helped very much. As I said, there were a number of Mexican shops and businesses there. I remember going to a Mexican barber shop where the barber kept a machine gun. These were the days of Al Capone and gangsters.

What happened after the taking of the Philippines? We began to prepare for the invasion of Japan. In the meantime, we stayed in the Philippines. One benefit of this was that I had had the opportunity while a student to have read some Philippine literature. So I knew some of the writers. I met some of them while on the islands. I was also impressed to see the many statues there dedicated to the great Philippine writer Jose´ Rizal. S. possession. In your unit, were there many Mexican Americans? No, very few.

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