Puerto Rico The Storeyed Country – Book Report/Review Example
History and Political Science, Book Report/Review Topic: Puerto Rico: The Four-Storeyed Country
A. The contents of the book “Puerto Rico: The Four-Storeyed Country,” by Jose Luis Gonzalez are about Puerto Rican National Identity. The islanders have borne with conquests and had to bear with the onslaught of varied cultural patterns. The issues relating to race, nationality and ethnicity are peculiar in Puerto Rico. This island has gone through the process of being under two colonial powers for long periods. The present question is, about the continuing impact of American colonial intervention on Puerto Rican culture. This national identity has been challenged often and the book by Gonzalez divides the history into four parts for understanding the successive developments.
B. I choose chapter I of the book, “Puerto Rico: The Four-Storeyed Country,” from pages 1 to 30. In this chapter the author goes to the specifics of the subject dealt with by him in detail in the later chapters of the book. The contents of this chapter are the essence of the book. Notwithstanding the territorial and cultural attacks, Puerto Ricans have succeeded in retaining their distinct identity. Gonzalez argues, "When the descendants of the first African slaves had already become black Puerto Ricans... the first Puerto Ricans were in fact black Puerto Ricans" (10). Subsequently invasions by the colonial powers did impact the native people. But that was not their willing acceptance. The ideal of "Americanization" was imposed on the Puerto Ricans. They were aware of the necessity "to protect and shore up a national identity that the Puerto Rican masses have never felt as their true identity" (Gonzalez 24). The problems confronted by the local people and the colonists are more or less the same all over, in the affected countries like Puerto Rica. “It stresses the increasingly complex, yet unfinished, character of colonial society, highlights its regional differences, and shows how economic growth, religious revival, and political maturation prepared the English colonists by 1750 for the epic events that would occur in the next generation.”(ksuweb.) Thus, the confrontation of the two cultures was inevitable, the offence of the colonists to assert their authority in all segments, and the efforts of the Indians to defend the cultural traditions of their homelands.
C. The people of this country have succeeded in maintaining the essentials of their culture. Western influence on their lifestyles does count, but that is a global phenomenon which has happened in most of the countries under colonial rule. Puerto Rican culture is primarily Caribbean and not American.
Gonzales, Jose Luis (Author) Puerto Rico: The Four-Storeyed Country and Other Essays. Trans.
Gerald Guinness. M. Wiener Pub.; 1993
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