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Ramona Cover

ISBN13: 9780812973518
ISBN10: 0812973518
Condition: Standard
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Publisher Comments:

This classic work illuminates the tragic plight of Native Americans and Mexicans whose lands were appropriated by American settlers in Southern California. Set from the first American edition of 1884, this Modern Library Paperback Classic includes an Appendix as well as a reading group guide.

About the Author

Denise Chávez, a prolific playwright, poet, and novelist, is the author of Loving Pedro Infante, Face of an Angel, and The Last of the Menu Girls. She lives in New Mexico.

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michelle_rohr, May 14, 2008 (view all comments by michelle_rohr)
After the unsatisfying reception of her book, A Century of Dishonor, which detailed the cruel injustices inflicted on American Indians, Helen Hunt Jackson set out to reach people's minds through their hearts with a more romantic take on this issue. The result was Ramona and it was well-received.

Set in old California, it tells the story of a beautiful, orphaned girl named Ramona who is raised on the expansive ranch of the shrewd, overbearing Senora Moreno who does not love Ramona because of the shameful aspects of her birth: Ramona is half indian. Yet in spite of the Senora's coldness, Ramona matures into a wholesome, sunny, and pious young woman because of her rich Catholic faith and because of the love that the rest of the household showers upon her, including the Senora's son, Felipe, who loves her as a dear sister.

When the time came for the many sheep on the estate to be sheered, the Senora Moreno employs a band of Indians. The leader of this band is the noble, handsome, intelligent Alessandro who immediately falls in love with Ramona. Like a slow-opening flower, Ramona responds to Alessandro's quiet, fierce love.

The first cloud to shawdow the other-worldly happiness of these lovers came with the bitter disapproval of the Senora Moreno which forces Ramona and Alessandro to flee. Added to this hardship is the harsh reality that Alessandro is now penniless and homeless since the Americans forced his entire tribe out of his village, Temecula - a tragedy that Ramona and Alessandro are destined to endure again and again. Seeking refuge after refuge, Ramona endures the struggles associated with Indian life with serenity and adaptibility. Increasingly, she becomes Alessandro's strength. Full-blooded Indian and once looked up to as chief before the destruction of his home, Alessandro feels keenly the magnitude of his people's loss and their powerlessness against the greedy American laws. With the death of their first baby, Alessandro gives into his despair and goes insane. Horrifyingly, this leads to the climax of the book in which Alessandro, in a fit of madness, rides home on a horse that is not his own. The owner, a brutal man, arrives and brutally murders Alessandro with three shots of his gun as he struggles to explain.

Ramona is consumed with a fever brought on by the shock and grief of seeing her husband killed before her eyes. At this point, Felipe appears on the scene after having searched for Ramona for years. Ramona recovers, but is permanently marked with the emotional scar of a love lost. She returns to the Moreno estate with Felipe and her second baby who has Alessandro's brown eyes. Felipe grows sick of the Americans and their ways. Following the yearnings of his heart, he moves to Mexico with Ramona, who is also glad because she wants her daughter to grow up in this country. Felipe and Ramona marry and have many children, but the most beautiful of them all is the eldest, the daughter of Alessandro the Indian.

This book is about many things. Primarily, it is about the American Indians and what they suffered. It is about the pressing influences of one's nature vs. the rushing current of events and circumstances. Jackson writes of Ramona's love for Alessandro as if it is a fulfillment of her Indian nature. But she is only half indian. At the end of the book, one wonders if it is for this reason or because of the forceful influence of tragic events that Ramona returns to the life she first knew. Jackson does not tell us. Instead, she assures us that the spirit of Alessandro lived on in Ramona like a secret eternal and sacred. Undoubtedly, this is also true for those millions of readers who ever allowed this story to open their eyes and hearts to the sad plight of the American Indian people.
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Product Details

Chavez, Denise
Notes by:
Tinnemeyer, Andrea
Introduction by:
Chavez, Denise
Chavez, Denise
Denise Ch
Chavez, Denise
vez, Denise
Jackson, Helen Hunt
Modern Library
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Modern Library Classics
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.08x5.24x.94 in. .67 lbs.

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