José Antonio Villarreal

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José Antonio Villarreal
Villarreal in 1974
Villarreal in 1974
Born30 July 1924
Los Angeles, California
Died13 January 2010
Literary movementChicano
Notable worksPocho
The Fifth Horseman

José Antonio Villarreal (30 July 1924 – 13 January 2010) was an American Chicano novelist. Villarreal was born in 1924 in Los Angeles, California, to migrant Mexican farmworkers.[1] Like Juan Manuel Rubio in Pocho, Villarreal's father fought with Pancho Villa in the Mexican Revolution.[2] He spent four years in the Navy before attending the University of California at Berkeley in 1950.[3]


Villarreal's novel Pocho (1959) is one of the first Chicano novels, and the first to gain widespread recognition. Pocho has been called the "pivotal transitional link between 'Mexican American' and 'Chicano' literature", both because of its strengths as a novel and because of its use in the rediscovery and recuperation of Latino literature in the 1970s.[4] The novel details the childhood of Richard Rubio, whose father Juan Manuel left Mexico in the post-Revolution exodus of 1910. As a first-generation American, Richard struggles with the conflicting values of his parents: his father's Mexican sense of honor, tradition, pride and masculinity and the more Americanized view of family and women's roles that his mother and especially his sisters adopt. Richard's father harbors a dream to return his family to Mexico, but his circumstances and choices keep him in the United States. Similarly, Richard does well in school and wants to go to college to become a writer, but he must become the man of the house after his father leaves the family; yet Richard himself leaves the family to join the Navy after Pearl Harbor. According to scholar Francisco A. Lomelí, the novel argues "that people of Mexican descent have a rightful place they can claim their own that is both Mexican and Anglo American, which Chicanos synthesize in varying degrees [and] accentuates, for the first time in a mainstream American literary scene, Hispanic characters as complex and multidimensional who, despite their individual flaws, possess depth and credibility".[5]


  • Fiction
  1. "Some Turn to God," short story, Pegasus, 1947
  2. "A Pot of Pink Beans Boiling," short story, San Francisco Review, 1959
  3. POCHO, a novel, Doubleday & Company, New York, 1959
  4. POCHO, reprint, Anchor Books, New York 1971
  5. "The Conscripts," short story, Puerto del Sol, 1973
  6. THE FIFTH HORSEMAN, a novel of the Mexican Revolution, Doubleday & Company, New York, 1974
  7. THE FIFTH HORSEMAN, Second edition, The Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue, State University of N.Y., Binghamton, 1984
  8. POCHO, New Edition, in Anchor Literary Series, Anchor Books, Doubleday & Company, New York, 1984
  9. CLEMENTE CHACON, novel, Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue, State University of N.Y., Binghamton,1984
  10. TWO SKETCHES: "The Last Minstrel in California," and "The Laughter of My Father," Iguana Dreams, ed. Delia Poey and Virgil Suarez, Harper-Collins, 1992
  11. POCHO, Spanish Language edition, transl. Roberto Cantu, Anchor Books, N.Y. 1994
  • Articles
  1. "The Fires of Revolution," Holiday Magazine, 1965
  2. "California: "The Mexican Heritage," Holiday Magazine, 1965
  3. "Mexican-Americans in Upheaval," West Magazine of the Los Angeles Times, September 1966
  4. "Mexican-Americans and the Leadership Crisis," West Magazine, September 1966
  5. "Olympics, 1968, "Mexico's Affair of Honor," Empire Magazine, Denver Post, April 1968


  1. ^ Villarreal,José Antonio. "About the Author" Pocho. Doubleday, 1989.
  2. ^ Jose Antonio Villarreal Archived 2008-01-17 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Villarreal. "About the Author"
  4. ^ Candelaria, Cordelia Chávez (2004). "Chicano Renaissance". In Cordelia Candelaria; Peter J. García; Arturo J. Aldama (eds.). Encyclopedia of Latino popular culture. Greenwood. pp. 152–153. ISBN 978-0-313-32215-0. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  5. ^ Lomelí, Francisco A. (1994). "Contemporary Chicano Literature, 1959-1990: From Oblivion to Affirmation to the Forefront". In Nicolás Kanellos; Claudio Esteva Fabregat (eds.). Handbook of Hispanic cultures in the United States, Volume 3. Arte Público. pp. 87–88. ISBN 9781611921632. Retrieved 24 June 2011.

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