From out of the Shadows
It is a matter of fact that Vicki Ruiz has significantly contributed historical researching due to her explorations of Mexican American canary workers and later life of Mexican women in the 20th century. Her book “From Out of the Shadows” paints vivid history of Mexican women, their struggles and difficulties, their opportunities and constraints throughout the century. The book presents a collection of essays focused on a particular relevant theme (topic). Furthermore, essays are arranged in chronological order. (Ruiz 1998)
It is necessary to state that the book has historical significance, because it deeply examines the very corner of Mexican women and thus present detailed explanation to readers. The book makes people enlarge their knowledge and makes them interested in the history. Little has been known about the history of Mexican-American women in the 20th century and thus the book is likely to be a pioneer and path-breaking volume. Moreover, the book presents struggle of women for equal rights, freedom and liberty in the world they have migrated. Mexican women have made impact both in it and on it. Thus the book is of historical significance and the reader may underline the courage and tenacity of women struggling for increased opportunities. Furthermore, the book is relevant to the course of Mexican history, because students have to learn not only about the wars or government, but also about life of simple people, especially women’s life as their life was likely to be difficult throughout the whole history. (Ruiz 1998)
The author starts her narrative with strong thesis arguing that “farm workers, flappers, labor activists, barrio volunteers, civic leaders, and feminists, Mexican women have made history. Their stories, however, have remained in the shadows”. Therefore, her objective is to address “issues of interpreting voice and locating power between and within communities, families, and individuals”. The first chapter provides detailed information about early migration experiences in the beginning of the 20th century. It is mentioned that Mexican women has placed their path to early migration experiences as well as to industrial and urban zones. The next two chapters are devoted to the same historical period dealing with “confronting America”. The chapter leads through Protestant missions to flapper attire. Finally, last chapters concentrate on the middle of the 20th century and on labor organizing. Furthermore, Ruiz emphasizes that role of Chicano feminism. Ruiz conducts studies and uses oral history interviews as well as literature published by Chicano historians and archival sources. Thus readers are introduced to Mexican women attempting to shape their lives. (Ruiz 1998)
Nevertheless, it is necessary to admit that the book has its advantages and drawbacks. Essay format is the main strength of the book, because it allows readers to choose the chapter being the most interesting tot hem without “losing the thread of a historical narrative”. For example, the third chapter “The Flapper and the Chaperone” is the most interesting as it contains only new material unknown before. It is necessary to outline that findings presented in the book significantly contribute people’s awareness of history. The book provides thorough examination of the causes, possibilities and consequences and therefore it has caught attention. The book leads through abundant data presented to persuade readers that the struggle is the only way to succeed in life. The author is rather persuasive, because she uses logical arguments, conclusions, facts, historical interviews and viewpoints of different critics to defend her position. (Ruiz 1998)
However, this book is likely to be flawed, because author’s style of writing lacks “fluency at times and, occasionally, becomes entangled in needless jargon”. Furthermore, Ruiz involves too many comforting typos and analysis seems rather superficial. Initially the book tended to strive for detached scholarship, though it failed because it seems to tend towards advocacy. The reason is apparent: Ruiz says she has written the book from her heart. Nevertheless, such approach may be welcomed due to simplicity for readers. (Ruiz 1998)
Ruiz, Vicki. (1998). From out of the Shadows: Mexican women in Twentieth-Century America. New York: Oxford University Press.