Richard Rodriguez's Brown: The Last Discovery Of America

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Human tendency to categorize others extends to simple instinct. From the moment a baby is born, the first question already categorizes the baby: boy or girl. In Richard Rodriguez’s Brown: The Last Discovery of America, he addresses these ideals of categorizations, untangling arduous inner conflicts in the process. Due to his diversity, Rodriguez feels unwanted and omitted in his day-to-day life. Feeling uncategorized, Rodriguez journeys to discover new parts of himself and embrace them, as well as question societal norms. This complex work leads to conflicting feelings between the reader and Rodriguez. Rodriguez discusses categories which leads to his personal creation for all the misfits. Rodriguez utilizes his personal experiences to distinguish himself in his lack of a category in American society. Because “the brown child may grow up to war against himself,” Rodriguez searches…show more content…
He isolates himself by painting brown as an exclusive group: “You can’t know what I’m feeling unless you are me” (26). This distances Rodriguez from the reader and makes it difficult for the reader to empathize. Also, Rodriguez appears attention seeking, perhaps due to the lack of recognition of brown people, such as himself. He searches for pity by explaining the exclusivity of a white and black society: “brown was like the skinny or fat kids left over after the team captains chose sides,” (5). Rodriguez feels isolated from society, although he has created an inclusive group for brown people. Constantly seeking empathy, Rodriguez appears immature, and his appeals to pathos are undermined. Struggling to relate to others, Rodriguez asks “does anybody know what I’m talking about? Ah, me. I am alone in my brown study,” (38). This compels the reader to want to better understand Rodriguez and his melancholy feelings. Rodriguez attempts to satiate this want by creating a common ground for the reader to empathize
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