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A Literary Essay Example: Review of Like Mexicans by Gary Soto

4 pages
849 words
Vanderbilt University
Type of paper: 
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While he was growing up, Sotos most important ideas about girls and marriage were that he had to marry specifically a girl of his race and class. According to his grandmothers teachings, he had to avoid Okies, a term he uses to refer to every other girl that was not Mexican. He also learned from his parents and grandparents that his wife had to be of the same economic standing as himself. As he grows and experiences life, he discovers that most of these ideas were misconceptions and that people are the same regardless of race.

For starters, Soto notes that Mexican girls can cook (115). The notion implies the perception of a womans role and how well the Mexican woman fits it. The plot emphasizes this connotation through Sotos mother in the kitchen who was busy with her steak and knife and in the process of cooking. The above quotation is a misconception because later on, Soto marries a Japanese girl and they go to her parents home and are welcomed well with plenty of food including sushi.

Second, Soto states that he had spent a long time in search for the brown girl in a dress at a dance (116). This statement implies that all Mexican girls or good girls had to be brown and wearing dresses at dances. The grandmother also brings this out when says that Mexican girls were good because they acted like women in their matrimonial homes. This quotation shows that Soto was brought up to believe that Mexican women were well behaved and would respect their husbands. However, this is not true as any woman can be brown and wear a dress to a dance. Hence, his criteria for looking for a woman would have led him to any woman dressed in the same way as this particular dress code cannot be attributed to Mexican women only.

Thirdly, Soto remarks that his mother wanted him to marry someone from his social class a poor girl (118). This remark suggests that the society believed in hypogamy. The above remark is proved when his best friend, Scott, even comments that Carolyn was too good for him because she did not look poor. This quotation shows that Soto had been brought up to believe that a marriage with a woman from a different economic class would be impossible as they would not be suitable for each other. This fact was attributed to the fact that they belonged to different social classes. However, this is not true as throughout the world, there have been a lot of successful marriages between people from different economic classes.

Fourthly, on their way to see Carolyns parents, Soto states I felt better when I saw the house (118). This quote denotes that Soto had already felt intimated before reaching Carolyns home and seeing their house gave him some hope. Soto made this statement when he had a mind change and wanted them to turn back before they had reached Carolyns parents home and were still in the driveway. However, this is a wrong analysis as with good intention one can fit anywhere. Ones state of abode, i.e., the rugged old home should not have given Soto comfort that he could handle seeing Carolyns parents as such shaggy homes can be found anywhere in the world and would not mean much.

Fifthly, when Soto visits Carolyns parents, he comments that Carolyns family was just like Mexicans poor people (118). This account shows his class consciousness. It also shows the demarcation that exists in their society where there is a clear line dividing the people according to their wealth. However, he observes the house, the wallpaper and the dust around the house and his mind registers equality in their social classes. Nonetheless, it is a fallacy as there are many poor people around the world in at least every city. In addition to this, a lot of houses belonging to people of different races can be dusty as dust cannot be attributed to a given race only. For example, most people living in the United States who are farmers or have ranches have dusty homes as dust can be minimized but not controlled from reaching ones home.

Finally, Soto has an encounter with a kitten at Carolyns family kitchen while eating and on their way out which made him think about the Molinas hence his comment Like Mexicans (119). This remark implies that he had associated such behavior with cats among Mexicans only. However, cats are pets, and their upbringing differs among different environment. This is illustrated in this case when he observes a kitten trying to claw its way into the house to feed on the leftovers and the scene of two other kittens joining the other. Therefore, the text brings out a sense of uniformity in different places as cats will always be cats and unless groomed to behave in a given way, they will always have similar characteristics no matter the race that they live with.


Works Cited

Soto, Gary. "Like Mexicans." R. Raymond, Questioning: Literary and rhetorical analysis for writers (2007): 115-119.


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