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Puerto Rican Literature Essay

1024 words - 5 pages

Puerto Rican adolescents, however, were more likely to characterize females as an innocent virginal population that did need to be protected from sexual activity. According to the young people, the loss of a female's virginity and her subsequent level of sexual activity were a serious and contentious issue. Most young people believed females were more vulnerable to the negative consequences of sexual activity than males.The anthology opens with two historiographical essays by Félix V. Matos Rodríguez and Altagracia Ortiz. Matos Rodríguez's piece discusses the development of Puerto Rican women's history in the last three decades. It provides a brief account of the main ...view middle of the document...

(González 1990) Working together with foreign investors, native entrepreneurs, or comisionistas (contractors) as they were known in Puerto Rico, transformed this simple islandindustry into one of the United States' major colonial enterprises after World War I. González writes that as early as 1905, for example, Brígida Román and Maria Luisa Arcely, two of the best-known comisionistas, began selling homemade workers' calados (finely embroidered and laced linens) and crochet pieces to the stewardesses and passengers of the United States -- owned Puerto Rico Steamship Company vessels that stopped at the ports of San Juan and Mayagüez. Soon, they were joined by North American white women, who saw in the export needle-trade an acceptable business for their gender, and by religious humanitarians and public school educators, desirous of teaching needle skills to destitute women in order to prevent "immorality" and idleness among the poor. By the 1920s these various interests had succeeded in influencing the colonial Department of Public Instruction in San Juan to implement a needlework curriculum that trained female pupils in the few public schools scattered across the island. Thus, when the needletrade between Europe and the United States was interrupted by World War I commercial blockades, Puerto Rican and North American intermediaries were ready to deliver a highly skilled needlework labor force to larger mainland entrepreneurs who greatly expanded the export trade in the next decade.Like Barceló, Senator José Tous Soto (chieftain of the majority, pro-Aliancista wing of the Partido Republicano) also signaled the mistake the United States made in according voting responsibilities to illiterate Puerto Ricans, the latter being the ones "who need to be led by the hand, lacking as they are in any guiding light." (F. J.R. 1927) And similar to Barceló, for Tous Soto -- the prominent sugarcorporation lawyer -- the desire for increasingly disciplining the colonized majorities was being...

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