Lorena Guillen Ed Books

Lorena Guillen:

Zoot Suit and Other Plays
Zoot Suit and Other Plays by Luis Valdez. Awesome book to teach for these reasons:

  • it is in the tradition of Teatro Campesino, of which LuisValdez was a founding member. This gives teachers the chance to talk about the revolutionary form, structure, and purpose grounded in indigenous storytelling.
  • it dramatizes true events involving police brutality, young Latino and Filipino men in the East LA area, foreshadowing similar events in LA history, including the King riots and current national events

Zoot Suit Riots history:See it on PBS

  • it’s an extraordinary piece of literature rooted in Spanglish and the play on language and words, particularly within Chicanismo and Xicana/o tradiitions
  • it includes complex character development with special attention to the archetype of the Pachuco
  • it asks one of the most important enduring questions that literature can ask of the world: How does the individual exist with(in) the society in which they are born?
  • it was made into an amazing film version, without losing its original form as a dramatized play, starring Edward James Olmo and some of the best Latino/a actors of the time
  • it gives students the opportunity to use all higher order critical thinking skills needed to read, interpret, analyze, and bring to performance a rich, complex text