A Piece of the Wall: Everchanging modern literature

Cole’s writing really struck me, but what caught my mind in particular was the relevancy of the subject matter to current events. And yes, while the border between Mexico and the US has been in current news for years, certain specific details were much more poignant to today. At one point Cole writes through twitter user @potw_Kat, “The American people just think: well, [Mexicans] are just drug barrons and rapists.” The tweet was published on March 13, 2014, but the quotation is eerily similar to that of a comment Donald Trump infamously made the following year when announcing his bid to run for the presidency, saying, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Also, the piece mentions high arrests rates and unwarranted traffic stops in Southern Arizona, where police were consistently overstepping their legal bounds. In the past weeks, Sheriff Joe Arpio made headlines again after being given the presidential pardon by Donald Trump, despite being the lead officer in the illegal Arizona arrests of many innocent latino people. Only a few tweets later, Cole references Obama’s granted amnesty to the children of  illegal immigrants, known as DACA, which also made news when Trump threatened to repeal it in 6 months if Congress did not pass it into law before then. While all these facts are well and good, they don’t say anything about the text themselves. What they do give in a different perspective on how literature can be read, especially now. We have the privilege of living in an era with such widespread, instantaneous communication that the affects can be seen bleeding into literature, like in Cole’s work. As the present rapidly evolves, literature stays the same, rooted in whatever minute it was written in. However, readers who read the text after key facts have changed, like that of DACA and Arpio, give the text a new life and a sort of new meaning. This possible new meaning comes from how we reflect on the near past and what we will do about it in the near future. Reading Cole’s piece today, I saw this almost as a plea to save DACA and the 8 million dreamers it protects, but even though that is technically written into the piece, the message is not there because it had not yet come time for its need. This possible change asks the question: Is literature a stagnant entity, rooted in whatever time it was written in, or can later events put new meaning on a text that was not written with them in mind?

One thought on “A Piece of the Wall: Everchanging modern literature

  1. I also felt the effects of laying the current political environment over the individual tales and narratives that were shared in this tweet thread, and how this made the overall content seem heavier and more vital. It’s interesting that the stories Cole shares line up so well with the issues, but I can’t help but wonder what that says about our country, and the disappointment I felt while reading and realizing that the very issues you brought up were just as prevalent then, but were not put under the spotlight and how can these issues be resolved, if they ever will. About your question towards literature being static, I firmly believe that it is not, and the flexible interpretations that literature can have depending on the audience and where they are, are what makes literature so powerful. For example, after the election last November, The Handmaiden’s Tale and 1984 became very popular novels, because of how relevant the books seemed when applied to the context of our current political environment, despite having been written long before our time.

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