Finding its place: Reading the Squatter and the Don through genres
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María Amparo Ruiz de Burton's novel The Squatter and the Don (1885) is a historical romance novel that is set in California at the end of the 19th century. It describes the struggle over land between Californio landowners and Anglo-American squatters that occurred following the war between Mexico and the U.S. in 1848. While the novel is generally categorized as a historical romance novel, it posits a sort of unease in relation to genre that I will explore. I will look into different characteristic of the historical romance genre, and examine how the novel does and does not conform. I explore elements of parody, and claim that these contribute to a sort of alliance between the narrator and the reader. The narrator has an important role in the novel because he/she speaks on behalf of the Californios, and tries to evoke sympathy and change on their behalf. He/she is not a character in the novel but functions rather as a witness. The role of the narrator and the particular nature of the last chapter Out with the Invader" allow me to consider the novel within the more recent genre of Testimonio.