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How Latin American Literature Critiqued Western Culture

The initial reading of The Dialectic of Our America by Jose David Saldivar was helpful to understand and acknowledge the dialectic nature of historical narratives. His concerns for the American literary canon steps from a shortcoming of theoretical rigor, inauthenticity, and parochial vision.

In “I Have,” he never heard of anyone being grateful for the Cuban Revolution. There is this stigma of wars and revolutions being caused by or committed to evil people. However, the author describes this feeling as not being the case for everyone. This poem also replicates a piece of gratitude for the basic things that we take for granted. He thinks of the positives of specific critiques. Some of the “basic” things like reading, writing, laughing, thinking, and having the ability to work and earn is something he has. This poem brought an idea of perspective. Some people do not have these rights or possibilities.

“Our America” provides a central code for a dialectic view of America and literature. This was deemed more as opposition with self, like a one vs. other through the commentary of American and Latin American relationship. The differences in perspective make the story more accurate. The dialectic experience also emphasizes the high focus on a one-sided perspective in the canon rather than including other views. Instead, someone can be a republic in the way they understand and compose diverse elements. Readers need to understand the full measures of each side, like a debate.

All of the pieces challenged the imperial, individualistic, and Western view in United States history as the authors represented and emphasized morals and lifestyles in their respective countries. This acted as a social critique on their location, but even more to outsiders reflecting and applying their words on their current situation.


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