The Changeling Judith Ortiz Cofer Analysis

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In Judith Ortiz Cofer’s “The Changeling”, the hardships of gender stereotypes are exposed. The contrast between a young girl’s imagination and the reality of her gender role is clear by her attempt to appease her parents. She is neither manly enough to gain the attention of her father nor womanly enough to attain the respect of her mother. Her dilemma of not being able to fit in is emphasized by Cofer’s use of imagery and repetition. The vivid imagery contrasts considerably with the speaker’s identity, highlighting the discrepancy between her imagined and true personas. The speaker undergoes a symbolic transformation into a boy, but in order to do so, she must cast away her defining features as a woman. One way she does this is by repositioning …show more content…

As she transforms back into a young girl, she recalls that her mother would instruct her “... to shed/ my costume, to braid my hair furiously/ with blind hands, and to return invisible/ as myself / to the real world of her kitchen” (25-29). The way in which she utilizes “to” in the start of every section embodies the conformity that her mother is trying to impose on her. It is no coincidence that the identical form of the sentences of her reverting to the female stereotype directly follows her mother’s orders. All of these actions go against her will to be adventurous, and it culminates in a profound statement on who a person really is. In returning invisible as herself, she explains that the person she is supposed to be is not the real her. By being someone who she is not, she is not really living, somewhat like the invisibleness and transparency of a ghost. The uniformity of the sentence structure starting with “to” now brings attention to the contrast between her invisibility and the “real world”. She is not really living in reality, for she is not herself or who she wants to be. Her real wishes must stay hidden as a result of stereotypes, and only then does she return to the real world full of these

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