Love as a Metaphor in Latin American Literature

The purpose of this post is to share how I am approaching this coming teaching week, which focuses on love as a metaphor.

When I read the assessment attached with the unit I thought it was quite cliché.  Why would it be important to analyze love within this text when there are so many other things to address?  However, having read One Hundred Years of Solitude I remembered that Márquez portrays the concept of love in ways that go beyond the repeated and trite look of love today.  I decided to accept this love assessment as a challenge instead of something that I was going to gripe about and think deeply about how I am going to catalyze and support my learners in their own original thinking of love and how they will analyze within the text.

What texts will I be using?

  1. An excerpt from Ch.2 of One Hundred Years of Solitude. This excerpt mainly focuses on José Arcadio Buendía and Úrsula’s fear of having children and the causes and effects of this fear.
  2. The excerpt as you can tell from the title of this blog is taken from Ch. 14 of the same text mentioned above: The Love Story of Mauricio and Meme.

Why I chose these texts to analyze and discuss love as a metaphor?

I chose these texts because they both portray love that is different from the traditional storyline of love as we see it in today.  This love that these four characters experience do not only involve themselves and their own fears, but also the fear of what others have to say about their love.  The love that we take the time to invest in others (regardless of who is receiving and reciprocating it) does not go “untouched”.  That’s cryptic, I know. Anywho, the point I am trying to make is love is nuanced, complex, and often times difficult.  I want my students to construct their own understanding of love as they see it in Marquez’s text and articulate their shared thoughts in writing and speaking.

How will my connect what they learned from the previous weeks to this? What is the transfer (how will my students apply their learning to a new situation)?

Teaching in a vacuum is something that I have to check myself on regularly. Otherwise I find, and often times worry, that what I have taught has only been a means to the end that only applies to what we are doing in the classroom.  There is nothing satisfying about this type of teaching for me.  So first, I must think about what my students have learned and what they are going to learn about this week.  I need to create bridges that they can walk over.

Well last week they learned mainly about literary magical realism (LMR), if you aren’t sure what that is (don’t worry I wasn’t either until confronting this curriculum) here is a link that I referred to frequently for teaching support.  While I can confidently say that my students understanding what LMR is, I can’t say that they have a deep understanding of it’s purpose in their own lives.  So first, I at some point this week I would like my students to construct purpose behind understanding what LMR is aside from their ability to identify it within a text.  I think this is why they struggled with analyzing it in the texts so far because they don’t see it’s worth.

In this week’s text the magical element seems to be the butterflies that follow Mauricio around and eventually linger with Meme.  It’s not clear to me yet what the butterflies symbolize, but that’s the beauty of teaching, I also get to learn. This love story between Meme and Mauricio is quite intriguing, the chapter focuses mainly on building the reader to understand the romance between the two characters that is not approved by Meme’s mother, Fernanda. Fernanda seems to have an issue with this man pursuing her daughter and it will be part of the work of my students to figure out why that is.

I think that the transfer for this week is looking closely at the conflict the concept of love has within the text.  I believe that this is transfer because the final assessment requires that students take on another concept word and analyze its multilayered meaning in Márquez’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech.  As for how it connects and transfer to life? Well, I think many people can attest to their own experience with love and

One of the hardest things for as a teacher is being careful to not simply give my students the answer when I feel like it is getting to tough.  I have to remind myself not to do the work for them regularly. Often times we do this without even noticing, so it’s important that I question whether or not I am doing this often. Everything in me wants to make the pressure of making the work easier for my students by giving them something like guiding questions.  It’s not that guiding question for a text are bad, actually I strongly believe that they are necessary when reading a really difficult text, but this one is not, in my teacher opinion.  I believe in the work my students can do to make sense of the text on their own and with their peers.

I’ve given my students the weekend to read the text and take plenty of notes. This will allow them to understand the text, gather the surface level information in preparation for work this week that will push them to dig deeper.

Questions I am still asking myself as I plan for this coming week:

  1. How do I get students to interact with the text on their own and construct their own understanding?
  2. What steps do I need to take in order to prepare students to transfer the skill of analyzing the concept of love metaphorically within a text and articulate their understanding through writing?
  3. What’s the point of doing any of the skill work and how does it connect and apply to their own lives? Why are we doing this?
  4. How will I encourage thinking that supports them in life?
  5. What are ways to encourage my students to take ownership of their learning and go beyond what I assign for them to do?
  6. What are ways that I can encourage students to build inquiry about the text they are reading so I am not taking away this opportunity for learning growth from them?

Thanks for joining me on this journey and since the writing portion of this unit is fast approaching I will definitely be posting more.  I can’t expect my kids to become better writers if I myself am not pushing myself to do the same by writing more on this platform.

Thanks for reading and please leave a question, comment, query, and/or a conundrum below!

Kimberly