Sandra Cisneros: American Identity

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Written works about American Identity are a very common theme amongst writers, including poet Dwight Okita and short-story writer Sandra Cisneros. Dwight Okita is famous for her poem “In Response to Order 9066: All Americans of Japanese Descent Must Report to Relocation Centers,” in which the theme of American identity is portrayed through a 14-year-old girl. In a similar way, Sandra Cisneros’s short story is told by a young girl of Mexican heritage who prefers American culture—in sharp contrast to her deep-rooted Mexican grandmother. Although the overall theme of the two texts is “American Identity,” both Okita's poem and Cisneros's short story delve deeper and portray that cultural heritage and physical appearances do not determine what it…show more content…
In “Mericans,” the grandmother is inside a church, praying for all of her family members. The narrator, Michelle, and her two brothers are told to wait outside and wait for their grandmother be finished. Michelle imagines that her grandmother is saying “one long prayer fringed with the grandchildren born in that barbaric country with its barbaric ways.” This characterizes the grandmother as someone who does not like American society or culture, contrasting how Michelle feels about it entirely. It is revealed in the beginning of the story that Michelle and her brothers not only enjoy American culture, but seem to have been raised upon it. While they are waiting outside the church, Michelle explains: “We must not wander over to the balloon and punch-ball vendors. We cannot spend our allowance on fried cookies or Familia Burron comic books or those clear cone-shaped suckers that make everything look like a rainbow when you look through them.” Similarly to enjoying American food, Michelle and her younger brother enjoy playing games and pretend to be characters out of several American movies and TV shows. At the end of the story, Michelle walks out of the church after checking up on her grandmother and sees her brother helping some Americans. Her brother is talking in Spanish to the Americans and this is quite strange to Michelle because both her and her brothers are fluent in English. The Americans naturally assumed, based off only their physical appearances, that they aren’t fluent in English and essentially believed that they weren’t American at
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