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Santa Clo Va a La Cuchilla

October 25, 2009 by

 

imageThe Puerto Rican writer, Abelardo Díaz Alfaro, has written about the teaching of English on the island in several of his short stories.  This is why we will discuss and analyze two of them: “Peyo Mercé: English Teacher” and “Santa Clo Va a La Cuchilla” in the class.  Please begin by reading “Santa Clo Va a La Cuchilla” and write your impression of this story in your journal.   You will find this story at:

http://www.ciudadseva.com/textos/cuentos/esp/pr/alfaro/santa.htm

 

Guide Questions:

  1. Where does this short story take place?
  2. Who is the new teacher and what are his goals for his classroom?
  3. What is the main conflict in the story?
  4. What do you think is the message the author, Abelardo Díaz Alfaro, is trying to communicate through this short story?

Posted in Unit 1 | 8 Comments »



8 Responses to “Santa Clo Va a La Cuchilla”

  1.   Ramón Morales Rivera Says:

    Como maestro de español tengo que hacer mis comentarios al respecto. Abelardo ha sido uno de mis escritores puertorriqueños mas respetados por mí. Para ser justo con el curso los mismos serán redactados en inglés y español.

    El cuento “Santa Clo va a La Cuchilla” se desarrolla en un barrio llamado La Cuchilla en algún pueblo de Puerto Rico. Este nombre de “La cuchilla” es común en muchos municipios de Puerto Rico. El nuevo maestro que llegó al barrio se llamaba Johnny Rosas, su meta era traer cosas nuevas para sustituir lo tradicional. En este cuento se presenta el conflicto creado por el maestro y su supervisor ante la imposición lingüística y cultural anglosajona.
    A través del cuento Abelardo nos da una visión bilateral de la cultura puertorriqueña. Un enfrentamiento entre un pueblo conservador, tradicional y costumbrista frente a unos personajes que representan la imposición, el cambio o la transculturación. El barrio “La Cuchilla” no se resiste al cambio, más bien se asusta y huye de la invasión extranjera que representa un atentado al bienestar social y cultural del jíbaro. Esta imposición lingüística y cultural es un ejemplo de que los cambios y las nuevas prácticas o modalidades sociales, políticas o educativas, hay que hacerlas un paso a la vez. No se puede imponer una asimilación cultural a la fuerza. Esto es una muestra del conflicto creado por una elite y el campesino ante el proceso de establecer una nueva visión cultural y lingüística. Puerto Rico fue un país que en las primeras décadas del siglo XX vivía en la pobreza extrema, la conciencia cultural y lingüística no era una prioridad para la comunidad.
    El enfrentamiento a una nueva cultura, más que a un nuevo idioma, crea un aparente desajuste psicológico en la comunidad campesina. El rechazo manifestado por los campesinos no es meramente un atraso cultural o cognoscitivo, representa a su vez un arraigo a una cultura, tradición y costumbre que los identifica: una identidad.

    The story “Santa Clos Va a La Cuchilla” takes place in “La Cuchilla” a rural zone in some town of Puerto Rico. This name of “La Cuchilla” is common in many municipalities of Puerto Rico. A new teacher who arrived there called Johnny Rosas, has a goal in his mind, to bring new things in order replace the traditional ones already established. In this story the conflict created by the teacher and his supervisor appears to be against the English linguistic and cultural imposition.
    Through the story, Abelardo, gives us a bilateral vision about the Puerto Rican culture. A confrontation between a conservative, traditional and customs society against people who represent the imposition, the change or the transculturation. The community from “La Cuchilla” did not resist to the change, rather they were scared and they fled from the foreign invasion that means an attack to the social and cultural “jibaro’s” welfare . This linguistic and cultural imposition is an example in which changes, the new practices or social, political or educational modalities, it is necessary to make them one step at a time. A cultural assimilation can’t be imposed by force. This is a conflict created by an elite and the “jibaro” before the process to establish a new cultural and linguistic vision. Puerto Rico lived in the extreme poverty in the first decades of XX century, cultural and linguistic issues it was not a priority for the community at this time.

    The confrontation to a new culture, more than to a new language, creates an apparent psychological misalignment in the rural communities. The rejection manifested by the “puertorrican’s hillbillies” is not merely a cultural or cognitive delay, represents both an attachment to their culture, tradition and custom which identifies: an identity.

  2.   xacha ruiz Says:

    1. Where does this short story take place?
    This story takes place in the “barrio la Cuchilla”.

    2. Who is the New teacher and what are his goals for his classroom?
    This new teacher is Johnny Rosas, and his goals for his classroom was to change there customs and to promoted the English language.

    3. What is the main conflict in the story?
    The main conflict in the story that Mr. Rosas tried to introduce the American Christmas symbol “Santa Claus”.Using the American traditions, like sing Jingle Bells”, to tried to impress the audience.

    4. What do you think is the message the author, Abelardo is trying to communicate through his story?
    I think that the message of Aberlardo is that you can not change the feelings or believes and trow away all those things that make you proud or make you someone important in this world. I think that Peyo Mercé is that person, using all those sayings that make him understand the situations and the feelings of those persons.

  3.   Joan Rosario Says:

    The story “Santa Clo va a la cuchilla” takes place in barrio La cuchilla. It present the conflict of two cultures: the puertorican “jibaro ” and the norteamerican. A new teacher, Mr. Rosas, pretend to teach English in the “barrio” school. It didn’t work because the jibaros have their own traditions. The author tries to present the opposition to accept another culture and language. Nothing that is imposed is accepted. Our jibaros have their own traditions they are conservative. The invasion of the another culture “Americans” was present.

  4.   puertoricousa Says:

    Primero quiero comentar sobre el análisis que hace Ramón sobre el cuento de Abelardo. Estoy muy de acuerdo con lo que dice. Una vez más se ve en este cuento la situación de la imposición de un idioma y su relación con nuestra identidad. Por eso me gusta incluir este cuento de Abelardo en esta clase. Nos hace entender un poco mejor la resistencia al aprendizaje del inglés en Puerto Rico. Yo no dudo de la importancia de la enseñanza del inglés en PR pero su relación con nuestra situación política hace más difícil su enseñanza. También, según dice Ramón, está ligada a las clases sociales pues no hay dudas de que los más pudientes aprenden inglés sin “ningún” problema.
    Me parece que Xacha expone más o menos lo mismo en las contestaciones a las preguntas guías.
    Maty García

  5.   puertoricousa Says:

    Dear Joan,
    I also read your response to the short story by Abelardo and I have to agree with you, especially your comment that nothing that is imposed is accepted. You are so right, and I guess that has been the great problem of the teaching of English in Puerto Rico.
    Maty

  6.   Maria de Lourdes Colon Matos Says:

    Journal: Santa Clo va a La Cuchilla of Abelardo Diaz Alfaro
    This story takes place at a school in a town called La Cuchilla. In which, a new and young teacher named Johnny Rosas was going to try to change the people culture and teach English as his mayor goal. The conflict in this story is the impact of two culture the puertorriquen and the American that, were in some way very different in those years. For example: Mrs. Johnny Rosas wanted his students to receive Santa Claus as something usual for them, it was something unknown for them and that is why they all ran away. They were used to celebrate the tradition of the three kings and not Santa Claus. The message the author wanted to communicate was that is not simple trying to change a culture of a certain place in two or three days, it is something that happens gradually, during the years. Maybe changes do not happen quickly or changes everybody in a certain place it depends individually to whom wants and accepts changes. Visualizing the present days some people accept other culture traditions as Santa Claus but other do not. It also; happens in acquiring another language some may want to learn but others do not.

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