The Critical and Feminist Perspectives
The novel Across A Hundred Mountains by Reyna Grande gives a story of how a character, Juana, grew up from adolescence to adulthood facing numerous problems in the process. Juana’s life and encounters connect to the critical and feminist perspectives. Juana’s adolescence, in particular, was challenging mainly because of the troubles she faced. She is a typical example of a person who grew up and took major family responsibilities before the right age and before having the capacity to do so. At the time, her father Apá left for the United States in search of better opportunities that could enable him to support his family financially. Her father’s case is among several such cases, which despite their good intentions at the start, end up causing further problems for families left far away back at home. After her father’s departure from the U.S., Juana had to do everything possible and within her capacity to provide for herself and the mother. Juana’s actions at this point connect to the critical perspective, which argues that social problems are mainly a result of societal structure and cultural assumptions that are brought forth by dominant groups subjecting subordinate groups to oppression (Grande, 2007). One of the characters in the novel Across A Hundred Mountains is Don Elias, who plays the role of an antagonist. Elias is a powerful, wealthy, and prominent individual who is feared by every community member. He perfectly fits the definition of an antagonist as he takes advantage of other community members while relying on his wealth. Elias’s treatment of Juana and the mother Amá is also one of oppression and unfairness. These aspects surrounding how society treats Juana and her family connections to the arguments of the critical perspective.
In her adulthood, Juana is identified by the name Adelina. Her adult life is no different from her adolescent life as the former is also characterized by unending problems hence a connection between her adult life and the feminist perspective. Adelina has a boyfriend known as Gerardo together with whom she plans to enter the next phase of life, which is marriage. Unfortunately, Adelina does not have a smooth relationship as she expected since Gerardo physically abuses her. Despite the continued physical abuse, Adelina is reluctant to leave Gerardo for another man (Grande, 2007). This is common in modern society in which women go through a lot in their relationships and marriages but are reluctant to let go. The connection between Adelina’s experiences and the feminist perspective is that the latter exclusively focuses on gender but hardly attempts to address the complexities surrounding a woman’s reality (Butler-Mokoro & Grant, 2018). Gender violence, which is evident in the relationship between Adelina and Gerardo, is one of the several aspects surrounding a woman’s reality that is not addressed by the feminist perspective (Perilla, Serrata, Weinberg, & Lippy, 2012). Adelina has no alternative but to put up with the gender violence she faces on a day-to-day basis. Aspects such as gender violence must not find their place in modern society.
The information on the connection between the narratives of Juana or Adelina relates to social work practice with Hispanic and Latino clients. When working with victims of domestic violence from Hispanic or Latina populations, it is important to understand their culture, particularly how their women continue to care for their spouses and households despite the physical abuse they face.
Butler-Mokoro, S., & Grant, L. (2018). Feminist perspectives on social work practice: The intersecting lives of women in the twenty-first century. New York, NY: Oxford University Press
Grande, R. (2007). Across a hundred mountains: a novel. New York, NY: Washington Square Press.
Payne, M. (2014). Modern social work theory (4th ed.). Chicago, IL: Oxford University Press.
Perilla, J. L., Serrata, J. V., Weinberg, J., & Lippy, C. A. (2012). Integrating women’s voices and theory: A comprehensive domestic violence intervention for Latinas. Women & Therapy, 35(1-2), 93–105. doi: 10.1080/02703149.2012.634