Object 3: ‘American Dirt’ – novel by American author Jeanine Cummins

May 28, 2021

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American Dirt is a book written by Jeanine Cummins. This novel displays the determination of the mother and son seeking a chance at life in a world doing everything it can to ravage them. Jeanine Cummins herself was born in Spain and spent her childhood in Maryland. She wrote the book from the perspective of a Mexican mother. The latin community perceived this as an invasion of their knowledge and profoundly racist. The prompt question presents how certain individuals may believe that writing from the perspective of Native blood isn’t a problem, whereas some may see this as unacceptable.

When taking the reviews into consideration, it’s evident that there are allegedly two main groups of people: those who rated the book 1 star and those who rated the book 4/5 stars. This is especially interesting because we are presented with a controversial topic which spikes discussion, perhaps working in favour for the book as it gained a lot of publicity. A segment of the audience sees the novel as a white woman profiting from the misery of Brown people, while another finds it to be an insightful representation of the migrant’s plight. This demonstrates how diverse groups of knowers have differing perspectives on someone writing a novel on behalf of things they haven’t personally experienced.

Many perceptions and perspectives have a meaning and real essence that is unique to a certain origin and the cultural/historical awareness that only native speakers can achieve. This relates to the exhibition in terms of how specific communities of knowers would see the novel purely as a fictitious tale of no malicious motive. I understand that some knowers would contend that the migrant trial in Mexico is only known by them in terms of credible facts and sincere emotion. However, if it weren’t for the controversy that the book sparked, I would not have learned about the subject, so it could be seen as a positive that unintentional publicity brought attention to an issue that many people were unaware about.

References:

https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/05/22/314881767/how-to-tell-if- someones-actually-read-ta-nehisi-coates-essay?t=1619596794323

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