Elements of Comedy in Luis Valdez’s Acto Los Vendidos as Techniques for Communication and Mobilisation


Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2006

11 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Excerpt

Contents

1. Introduction

2. Comedic Elements in Luis Valdez’s Acto Los Vendidos
2.1 Elements of Low Comedy in Luis Valdez’s Acto Los Vendidos
2.2 Elements of Realistic Comedy in Luis Valdez’s Acto Los Vendidos

3. The Critical Purpose of Valdez’s Satirical Comedy

4. Conclusion

Works Cited

1. Introduction

“The emphasis [of Luis Valdez’s Teatro Campesino lies on] (…) communication to the oppressed, not about them” (Bagby, Valdez 70). This statement of Bagby’s underpins the necessity for literary scholars to pay special analytical attention to the comedic elements in Valdez’s dramas. Indeed, it is the relationship between the playwright and his audience of Chicano workers that especially takes its effectiveness from the techniques and elements of comedy, especially satire.

Many critics underline Valdez’s importance both because he denounces the discrimination and exploitation of Chicanos in the United States and his direct address to oppressed Mexican-Americans, e.g., striking campesinos. The communication to his fellow-countrymen has always been essential for Valdez as a political writer. It has been this successful and mass-mobilising (for example in the 1965 Delano Grape Strike ) as his a ctos (short plays dramatizing the oppression of the fieldworkers) are based on comedic and satiric elements. These techniques have been used since archaic or Plato’s times by critical authors to mobilise the hearts and minds of human beings against a political system or to remedy an abuse.

The thesis that Valdez’s play Los Vendidos consists of various comedic patterns to enable a thrilling, entertaining and effective communication between the author and his Chicano audience to sustainably deliver Valdez’s political messages can be seen when analyzing his probably most famous acto and the types of comedy he uses. Los Vendidos can be assigned to classifications like low, realistic or satiric comedy. This, indeed, shows how strongly Valdez relies on comedic-satiric techniques to politically communicate with and mobilise his Chicano fellow countrymen.

2. Comedic Elements in Luis Valdez’s Acto Los Vendidos

Comedy can be defined as “an amusing and entertaining drama. (…) It (…) represents the experiences of ordinary people in common or vernacular language. (…) Comic effect is typically achieved through some incongruity, whether physical, verbal, or conceptual (…)” (Murfin, Ray 53). Following this definition, no one will doubt that the amusing “Los Vendidos” with its mingling of English and Chicano slang falls in the category of comedy. Valdez intentionally plays, for example, with this confrontation of pretentious English versus Chicano slang when the Secretary talks about searching for somebody “debonair”, and Sancho repeats the same expression as “De buen aire” or as both characters struggle for the proper – which means English or Chicano – pronunciation of the Secretary’s name “JIM –enez” (Valdez 602).

Comedies can be further subdivided into low or high comedy. Low comedies rely on the crude or the obvious to evoke laughter and include situation comedies, farces and slapstick works, whereas high comedies are based on intellectual issues and the incongruities between them (Murfin, Ray 54). Thus, one can classify Luis Valdez’s Los Vendidos as a low comedy.

2.1 Elements of Low Comedy in Luis Valdez’s Acto Los Vendidos

“Situation comedies [or sitcoms] contain characters whose absurdities are revealed through some entertaining machination of the plot” (Murfin, Ray 54). In this respect, Los Vendidos can definitely be classified as a situation comedy since its action jumps from one entertaining and amusing situation to the other in which each of these deals with or reveals absurdities of a new character. Honest Sancho and the Secretary lead the spectator through the action and in the course of these sales talks between the shop owner and his customer, one stereotypical robot after the other is presented to the audience.

[...]

Excerpt out of 11 pages

Details

Title
Elements of Comedy in Luis Valdez’s Acto Los Vendidos as Techniques for Communication and Mobilisation
College
University of Stuttgart  (Institut für Literaturwissenschaft: Anglistik/Amerikanistik)
Course
Literary Studies: Seminar: “Essay Writing and Interpretation of Literary Texts”
Grade
1,3
Author
Year
2006
Pages
11
Catalog Number
V114504
ISBN (eBook)
9783640153008
ISBN (Book)
9783640154999
File size
400 KB
Language
English
Tags
Elements, Comedy, Luis, Valdez’s, Acto, Vendidos, Techniques, Communication, Mobilisation, Literary, Studies, Seminar, Writing, Interpretation, Literary, Texts”
Quote paper
Jörg Vogelmann (Author), 2006, Elements of Comedy in Luis Valdez’s Acto Los Vendidos as Techniques for Communication and Mobilisation, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/114504

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