American Identity

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People often imagine American identity as unassuming and accepting. America is a place made up of a mixture of cultures, supposedly allowing one to live their life no matter how different it may be from their neighbor. American identity is seeing someone 's appearance, and no matter how different someone 's skin color or clothes, they are sanctioned as an American. Wouldn 't America be a place that welcomes different appearances and heritages as one? Okita 's poem "In Response to Executive Order 9066" and Cisneros 's story " 'Mericans" reveal the illusion of what American identity is differs from the truth of American identity.
To begin, Okita 's poem is from the perspective of a "...fourteen year old [Japanese American] girl with bad
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Cisneros 's story, " 'Mericans," broadcasts true American identity as well. The narrator is telling the story of her siblings and herself waiting outside a church for their grandmother. Their "awful grandmother," as the narrator calls a few times throughout the story, is part of their very strong Mexican roots. The children are interested in joining in on the excitement all around them; there were balloons and punch ball vendors, fried foods and candies, wooden ponies to sit on. All of these things part of the American culture, and everything in the church being part of their Mexican culture. Later in the story, two Americans are talking to one of the narrator 's brothers in Spanish. They ask to take a photo of him, primarily because of his ethnicity. The fact that they are taking a picture of a boy because he is of a different heritage signifies how the Americans view them as different, although the children identify with the American culture more than their own roots. The Americans were also shocked to find that the children speak English, showing that they did not realize the children were capable of being a part of the American culture.
The writers Okita and Cisneros use their characters to show how Americans view people who look different and come from different heritages. The narrator of Okita 's poem gives small facts about herself, indicating how human she is, just like any one else. The narrator also continues to be kind to her "best friend" even after all of
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