This map plots the settings and references in Borderlands

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The Texas-Mexico Border

The autobiographical narrative that runs through Borderlands begins in the Rio Grande Valley, where Gloria Anzaldúa was born and grew up.  She attended school in Hargill Texas, which is located very near the border with Mexico.  The location of Hargill is circled on this map--which also shows the extent and the ecological diversity of the border regions.

Although Anzaldúa and her family lived in the United States, she wrote in Borderlands that she grew up in a “rural, peasant, isolated mexicanismo.”  It was not until many years later, when she attended graduate school, that she came within "an arm’s distance” of “whites.”

There is no record of what Anzaldúa’s childhood home looked like, but photographer Lee Russell made a series of photographs documenting the homes of Mexican farmers in 1939, just three years before Anzaldúa was born—so these photos, which were taken very near Hargill, may give some idea of what she saw while growing up.

 

1939 Photos--1
Public Domain1939 Photos--1 - Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection
Hidalgo Corral
Public DomainHidalgo Corral - Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection