DEBRA A. CASTILLO
Late in Federico Campbell novella, "Todo lo de las focas" (Everything about Seals), the voices of the two main characters alternate in a fragment, one of their many vignettelike exchanges. The nameless narrator has apparently received from Beverly a copy of Leo Lionni's children's book, Little Blue and Little Yellow. Campbell's characters summarize Lionni's plot: two spots, one blue and one yellow, hug each other until they are green, go out to play, and return home to be rejected by both sets of parents until they decompose themselves from a single green entity back into a blue spot and a yellow spot once again.1 In their dialogue, significantly, the two voices also merge; neither is marked or inflected in any way to readily identify the speaker as a Mexican man or a woman from the United States, and the conversation begins with a rejoinder to an unrecorded question about Lionni's story. The giver has inscribed it with a dedication--"so that you learn how to disobey"--and the recipient assures the giver that the book was read and will be treasured forever. The same speaker ends the brief conversation with the elliptical remark, "A children's story . . ."2
Lionni's book, so prominently cited in Campbell's novella, clearly suggests something other than just another children's story. It is, as both characters agree, one of the formative texts of their border reality, an unforgettable book that taught them the virtues of disobeying restrictive parents in the name of friendship, and that graphically showed them how other limits and borders, including the borders of the body, could be dissolved. Campbell, himself a Tijuana native, in this novella and other stories from the collection Tijuanenses imagines numerous retellings of that simple story of the borderlands between one shape and another, of the interactions of
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Reconfigured Spheres:Feminist Explorations of Literary Space. Contributors: Margaret R. Higonnet - Editor, Joan Templeton - Editor. Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press. Place of publication: Amherst, MA. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 147.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.