Inspired by Literature and Film: Creative Interpretations from Spanish 312

by Liliana Ramírez, Cadiann Treviño Pinto, Rogelio Santiago

Faculty mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Franklin Lewis

For their final project, students of Spanish 312: Introduction to Literature in Spanish, created their own artistic pieces inspired in the short stories, poetry, drama and film they had studied throughout the semester. Below are a few examples of their creativity!

Liliana Ramírez: Painting of “No oyes ladrar los perros” by Juan Rulfo

This is a painting of a scene in the story “No oyes ladrar los perros” by Juan Rulfo. In this scene, an old man is carrying his injured son down a dark forest road towards a town, where they hope to find a doctor. As the story progresses, we discover that the two are estranged due to the son’s criminal behaviors, and that his father only saves him out of love for his son’s dead mother. In my interpretation, the mother is present in the scene as a light source, guiding the man and his son toward their sought destination. The man and his son are very darkly colored in the painting, as is the rest of the background. This is not only because it is nighttime, but also to emphasize the light and show how it is a presence more powerful than the son or father in this story. Due to her influence on their actions, I believe that the mother’s presence is palpable, so much so that she is “present” with her family. Although she died before knowing her son would become a criminal, it seems that the father has no doubt that she would still wish to preserve his safety, calling attention to a theme that some critics have pointed out in the story: that the mother’s hopes lie solely in her children (Ramírez, p 49). This speaks to the father’s devotion and respect for her wishes, saving her son—to his great pains and effort—even though he has acted so profoundly against the old man’s beliefs.

Cadiann Treviño Pinto: Golpe al corazón proyecto creativo

During my time in quarantine, I have had the opportunity to expand on one of my favorite hobbies. For my creative project, I decided to create a series of paintings representing the various elements and themes of each story in the lesson Golpe al Corazon or Hit to the Heart. The works that inspired each painting were “Tu Me Quieres Blanca” a poem written by Alfonsina Storni, “Como Agua Para Chocolate” a movie directed by Alfonso Arau, and “Cine y Malabarismo” a short story written by Angeles Mastretta. 

My inspiration to create this video came from the first time I heard that Gabriel Garcia Marquez had a close friendship with ex-president of The Republic of Cuba. Their friendship that went beyond just a simple greeting; It was a relationship where Fidel had the confidence to provide  literary criticism as Garcia said years later in interviews. Furthermore, Garcia’s ability to construct a masterpiece like “La Prodigiosa Tarde de Baltazar” instructed me to recreate an imaginary scene where Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Gabo) was developing a new story about a men who doesn’t belong in a cruel society where he lives; As he explains it to Fidel Castro (mi comandante).

Adaptación de “La prodigiosa tarde de Baltazar” por Gabriel García Márquez

Arabic to Urdu: The Journey of Semantics

by Anushah Hassan

Faculty mentor: Professor Maysoon Al-Sayed

Urdu is a language mainly spoken in South Asian countries like Pakistan and India. The language has been influenced by several different languages spoken in India, Europe, and the Middle East; one such language is Arabic. There are several Arabic borrowings in Urdu, but interestingly, the borrowed words don’t always have the same meaning as they did in Arabic. Throughout the semester, I analyzed borrowed words that have either (1) retained their meaning, (2) evolved in meaning, or (3) completely changed their meaning when they transferred to Urdu. I analyzed a total of 44 words—17 that retained their meaning, 17 that evolved their meaning, and 10 that completely changed their meaning. I analyzed the form, meaning, and use of each word. Through my research, I attempt to fill in gaps within existing research and try and come up with plausible hypotheses as to why the semantic changes have or have not occurred. A couple of the hypotheses I have come up with are (1) borrowed words that referred to more general concepts in Arabic were used to refer to more specific ideas in Urdu and (2) since a majority of the transferred words seem to conform to Urdu’s rules (syntax, grammar, etc.), borrowed words had conformed to Urdu’s needs at the time. Through my research, I have learned that there are many layers to the borrowing of words from Arabic to Urdu. There is no one reason that can attribute to the retention, evolution, or change in meaning. However, I aim to help the existing research and find more plausible reasons for the evolution of semantics through borrowing words.

Fantasmas o Fantasia: Un Análisis de Casa tomada

by Christopher Good

Faculty mentor: Dr. Marcelo Fajardo-Cárdenas

Literary analysis of Casa tomada (House overtaken), a short story written by Julio Cortazar in his book: “Bestiario” (bestiary). The story has features of magical realism, mystery, and horror in its account of two siblings whose home is overtaken after hearing strange sounds. This essay was written by a student in Professor Fajardo-Cardenas’ writing-intensive, Advanced Writing class (Spanish 413).

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The Pronoun Vos In Spanish Textbooks

by Katheryn Gonzalez

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gonzalo Campos-Dintrans

Abstract: This semester-long project is part of my URES with Professor Campos-Dintrans during Spring 2020. In it, we read and learned about the Spanish pronoun vos (you singular). As is well known, Spanish has two second person singular pronouns: tú (informal) and usted (formal). However, the pronoun vos is also widely used, especially in Central America, where my family is originally from. Indeed, I used vos and I did not even know it until this project. Professor Campos-Dintrans and I were studying the presence of this pronoun in Spanish language textbooks, because it does not seem to be really acknowledged in textbooks, so we wanted to measure how often vos was actually mentioned, if at all.

Methodolgy: What I did during my URES was looking for any mention of vos in textbooks, I checked every page, paying attention to the main text, footnotes, or mentions in the sidebar. When I found one, I would write it down, and make a note in a spreadsheet. Later on, Professor Campos and I would reconvene and we would go through all the data I was collecting. During the semester, I checked 13 textbooks, 8 from beginning levels and 5 from the intermediate level.

Results: We found that vos is hardly mentioned if at all, it would be acknowledged maybe once or twice, even though native speakers use it. From the data collected in the spreadsheets, I created graphs illustrating how often vos was mentioned.

Conclusion: As someone who grew up speaking Spanish at home, it was interesting to learn something about my language and focus on it and realize that there were differences between my dialect and others. In that sense, I felt different, but in a good way. It was educational but it made me kind of upset to realize that part of the language was being erased from teaching materials.

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