A special relationship exists between the United States and Latin America and extends back at least as far as the Monroe Doctrine, which warned European powers to leave the Western Hemisphere to fend for itself. There are political, economic, and cultural ties between the U.S. and Latin America that may be seen as beneficial or harmful, depending on the circumstances and who is assessing those circumstances. Both aspects of the relationship are reflected in much of the literature of Latin America, as an examination of the works of several writers and poets from Latin America will demonstrate.
The development of Latin American literature has been affected by the major political upheavals in that part of the world. Such upheavals imply the refocusing of national goals and values. Often, an initial aspect of such an upheaval has been the imposition of draconian restrictions on artistic expression, and among the upheavals in the last several decades were those in Chile and Uruguay in 1973, in Argentina in 1976, in Cuba in 1959, and in Brazil in 1964, and each of these ushered in new stages of their respective national cultures. Their use of language is often an aspect of the upheaval and its aftermath:
The street language of JosT Augustin and Gustavo Sainz in Mexico, Manuel Puig and Enrique Medina in Argentina, and Pedro Juan Soto and Emilio Diaz Valcarel in Puerto Rico seek to show how disruptive speech is an antiesthetically eloquent correlate of man's social fall. Such a belief constitutes a serious challenge to the cultural concepts of language and other artistic media as ennobling forces (Peden 27).
One of the primary cultural reflections of ties with the U.S. in Latin American literature comes in the form of imagery taken from American popular culture, and Manuel Puig in particular is given to using imagery from movies as a way of indicating differences between the two cultures, especially between the image of U.S. ...