Introduction to Latina and Latino Literature/Miguel Algarin

Analysis of TextEdit

The poem “A Mongo Affair” was published by the East Village Press / Nuyorican Press in New York, in 1978. Miguel Algarin’s website summaries the work as “A popular early work by a founding Nuyorican poet, Mongo Affair is the experience of our chemical-electrical, physical breakdown and the love and hate for the tar and concrete jungle of Manhattan”. However, the work is also looked at as Algarin’s view and outlook on the Puerto Rican culture when they immigrated to New York.

A mongo affair refers to how the Puerto Rican people thought about them. They were receiving food stamps, health care, cheap rent – they were living on welfare. A mongo was looked as a soft, bloodless, flojo (meaning “loose”). By referring to Puerto Ricans are mongos; it felt as though their sense of pride and hard work was taken away from them. American gave the Puerto Ricans small low paying jobs. By not allowing them to grow and succeed, the Puerto Ricans would never get off welfare. While it was better then being unemployed back home, the Puerto Ricans felt a no sense of purpose.

A major theme in this text is the word mongo. The word is defined online an unintelligent person, taken from the context "Mongoloid idiot". Algarin also looks at the word with a negative connotation to it as well. The word is discriminating toward the Puerto Rican people. They came here for work – they wanted to succeed and make a better life for themselves. The horrible work and low pay they received made that dream almost impossible.

Literary CriticismEdit

In “The Turn Around Religion in America: Literature, Culture, and the Work of Sacvan Bercovitch”, chapter 3 is entitled “Miguel Algarín's 'Nuyorican Angels' of Night and the Critique of Enwhitened Idealism” written by Maria DeGuzman. DeGuzman comments and gives her opinion on Miguel Algarin’s 1977 collection of “Love is Hard Work: Memorias de Loisaida”. Guzman states that the “modes of representation and cultural critique are far reaching” (37).

Guzman furthers her essay in drawing similarities from Algarin’s writing to philosophical theories. Immanuel Kant and his theoretical theories are argued through similarities and differences throughout the essay. One of the main topics and ideas argued is the angel. Guzman has many theories and illustrations for the angel Algarin wrote about. Overall, Guzman analyzes the article through the death of racism and ethnic hatred. Guzman also backtracks and analyzes the philosophical idealisms that defend and justify racism.