The literary works of the writers of these generations, as a whole, represent a reinforcement of the topic proposed in this essay, and they are steadfast in facing the strong winds that hit and threaten our essentiality as a people. In their texts we see how a new way of feeling about the native land and conceiving its history develops. Perhaps influenced by the words of Peruvian Vargas Llosa, in the sense that "the greater the patriotism, the greater the cruelty in showing us our own embarrassment, to show not only where the historic pus is but also the ridiculousness, the corniness, the mediocrity of human beings", these writers we now study will make of the written work of their generations a live testimony of the truth.
The writers of 1960 cultivate a challenging literature of sharp critical spirit —which comes from the direct contact with the hurtful truth of material, spiritual, and political crisis the country faces— and express their will to modify it. The members of the generation of 1975 will dedicate their critical passion to strengthening the sense of Puerto Ricanness by going deeper into the causes that contribute to distort our national identity. They use a rather sentimental and human cynicism, tempering the censorship regarding social decomposition, leaving behind the thunder and discordant of the generation of 1960. They fix their attention on our collective unstable existence, on man to current use, trapped by the new economic, social, and political changes that have been taking place after World War II, changes that represent the move from a capitalist industrial society, in whose pattern Puerto Ricans are submitted to new economic orders that do not fit the essence of an "unproductive" society like ours today.
Both literary generations present in their work a terrifying picture of alienated Puerto Ricans, uprooted from what is theirs, product of a consumerist society that only aspires to the enjoyment of material goods, worsening, with greater strength each time, the state of decay the country faces. This literature represents a new consolidating opening of the sense of what is Puerto Rican, because of its eager search of the being and its significant roots in time and space.
Among the most decisive authors in the topic of Puerto Ricanness, Luis Rafael Sánchez, stands out. He is a short-story writer, novelist, playwright, and essayist, without a doubt the most distinguished writer in these last two literary generations. The topic of nation in his work reflects his concerns regarding various problems that harass us: social, political, cultural. The Puerto Rican reality of today serves as background to his narrative, which reaches its climax with La guarachaguaracha: A fast-paced Cuban dance of Andalusian origin, in which the music has a 2/4 or 4/8 meter. del Macho Camacho, representative frame for the collective tragedy of our contemporary society, in evident state of degradation, sunken in chaos and alienation, suffering from a serious crisis situation regarding moral and spiritual principles, and damaged in the base of its political essence.
Other important writers —important because of the work they have done until now, based on the topic of concern for the native land— are, among others, Carmelo Rodríguez Torres, Rosario Ferré, Ana Lydia Vega, Magali García Ramis, etc.
Literature that has been cultivated in Puerto Rico throughout time, as can be seen, is revealed in poets, narrators, playwrights, and essayists with all the characteristics of being a sign of the roots of Puerto Ricanness, and becomes a true reflection of the cultural resistance safeguarding the positions of courageous feeling of nation that, with the passing of time, our people have assumed for the permanence of our profiles as a people and a nation. This encourages us to test our conscience, to reflect, critique, and self-critique. Our texts today are more Puerto Rican than ever before, despite the tendency of universalist order that insular literature has expressed beginning with the generation of the 1930's. According to José Santos Chocano "the more we belong to our land and our race, the more universal we may become."
Autor: Josefina Rivera
Published: September 21, 2010.
Version: 09032501 Rev. 1