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Tolerating Ambiguity

Ethnicity and Community in Chicano/a Writing

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Wilson Neate

Although recent criticism, focused on issues of resistance and border writing, holds that Chicano/a representations of self and community unsettle and transform hegemonic ideology, it has not fully explained that deconstructive potential. Tolerating Ambiguity argues that the symbolic force of Chicano/a writing is an attribute of ethnic writing which, as a symptom or reminder of the repressed ethnicity of the national consciousness, disturbs the latter. Drawing on different genres, this study analyzes how Chicano/a writing, symptomatic of a repressed prenational identity, resists the binary symbolic order of the national consciousness to yield representations of communities characterized by a resistance to closure and homogeneity and by an accommodation of differences.