| The Heath Anthology of
American Literature, Fifth Edition
Aurora Levins Morales
Aurora Levins Morales was born in Indiera, Puerto
Rico, on February 24, 1954, to a Puerto Rican mother and a Jewish father. She
came to the United States with her family in 1967, and lived in Chicago and New
Hampshire. She presently works in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she has
resided since 1976. Her short stories have appeared in This Bridge Called My
Back, Cuentos: Stories by Latinas, and in Revista Chicano-Riqueña. In 1986 she
published Getting Home Alive, a collection of short stories, essays, prose
poems, and poetry in English authored in collaboration with her mother, Rosario
Morales does not belong to the group of writers who were brought up in New York
City and whose works deal with life in El Barrio. Her experiences have taken
her, instead, from the urban world of Chicago, to the rural quiet of New
Hampshire, and to the pluralistic and politically radical culture of the San
Francisco Bay Area. Her writing has been profoundly influenced by two major
literary streams: first, by North American feminists like Adrienne Rich, Susan
Griffin, and in particular by Alice Walker. She has also read extensively the
works of major Latin American writers such as Pablo Neruda and Eduardo Galeano.
Her Puerto Rican–Jewish heritage has also been an important source of
creativity. Her search for a language that will express a Latina woman’s
experience and struggle identifies her with the body of literature produced by
US women of color, and closely connects her with the work of contemporary
tries to define her mestiza and female identity through an analysis and
critique of her two cultures. While considering herself “a child of the
Americas,” and not just Puerto Rican, Aurora employs in her writings the
cultural symbols of her country, and her childhood memories of the Puerto Rican
countryside. A unique element of Getting Home Alive is the generational
dialogue and “cross-fertilization,” as she describes it, between her mother’s
voice and her own. Along with Víctor Hernández Cruz, Levíns Morales illustrates
the gradual diversification that is taking place in United States Puerto Rican
literature. Following a first moment of protest which denounced the social and
economic conditions of the puertorriqueños in the Bronx and El Barrio, younger
Puerto Rican writers are exploring other issues, such as language, multiple
subjectivities, international politics, class, feminism, and transnational
identities. Their denunciations are not expressed directly but are embedded in
a more lyrical and individual poetic language. Writers like Cruz and Morales
exemplify a synthesis between the North American literary tradition and a broad
Latin American culture. As Puerto Ricans have moved away from New York City and
settled in other urban centers throughout the United States, their life
experiences have varied, and the emerging writings are thus characterized by a
greater diversity of voices.
Frances R. Aparicio|
University of Illinois at Chicago
In the Heath Anthology
Child of the Americas
Heart of My Heart, Bone of My Bone
Getting Home Alive (co-authored with Rosario Morales)
There are no Cultural Objects for this author.
Would you like to add a Cultural Object?
There are no pedagogical assignments or approaches for this author.
Noted Minnesota Scholar: Aurora Levins Morales
A brief biography.
On Child of the Americas
A collection of poems written in response to Aurora Levins Morales' Child of the Americas.
The Torturer and the Tortured
A review by Margaret Randall for The Sojourner, January 1999.
Rina Benmayor, "Crossing Borders: The Politics of Multiple Identity," rev.in Centro de Estusios Puertorriquenos Bulletin 2 No. 3 (Spring 1988): 71-77
Lourdes Rojas, "Latinos at the Crossroads: An Affirmation of Life in Rosario Morales and Aurora Levins Morales' Getting Home Alive," Breaking Boundaries, ed. Horno Delgado et al., 1989
Marc Zimmerman, U.S. Latino Literature: An Essay and Annotated Bibliography, 1992