62 pages 2 hours read

Américo Paredes

George Washington Gómez: A Mexicotexan Novel

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1990

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Symbols & Motifs


Names in George Washington Gómez are a motif that serve as a primary identifier of the cultural origins and social status of certain characters.

Tejano characters in the novel are often introduced using their first names, such as Feliciano, Guálinto, María, Carmen, and Maruca, or by nicknames, such as El Colorado (“The Colorful”) and La Gata (“The Cat”). Characters of higher degrees of respect are referred to with honorifics preceding their names, such as Don Feliciano, Don Onofre, and Don Santos for the men, and Doña Domitila and Doña Simonita for the women.

White characters, by contrast, are more often referred to by their surnames, such as MacDougal and MacHenry. Guálinto’s teachers’ surnames are given preceded by the traditionally Anglo marital honorific, such as Mr. Baggley, Miss Cornelia, Miss Huff, and Miss Barton. Miss Cornelia’s name is particularly noteworthy as “Cornelia” is more commonly a first name. This name play serves as a signal that Guálinto’s negative experience with her is a unique case compared to his more positive later experiences with his teachers.

Guálinto’s decision of what name to use for himself is tied to his struggle to define his own identity. His own given name, Guálinto, is entirely original and has no Mexican origin, but is instead a Hispanicized version of “Washington,”

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