Analysis Of Mericans By Sandra Cisneros
In a short story Mericans, Sandra Cisneros shared about the Hispanics, their culture and their way of life. This story also describes some differences between Latin Americans and the habitats of other regions of the continent. The story focuses on three Hispanic children, who waiting for their grandmother and view passers-by people. Children are bored, but have to wait for their granny, so they try to entertain themselves. One of them, who is also a narrator of the story, looks around and examine everything, standing where she must wait for an old woman.
The scene in Mericans is laid in Latin America. Three: the elder brother of the narrator, called Junior, the narrator herself and her younger brother Keeks stand near the church waiting for their grandmother. One of the boys looks at the church and prayers passing by. Using the eyes of this child, the author presents the culture of Latin America. The settings in this story underline the cultural features of the region described in this work. The narrator states, She [grandmother] disappeared behind the heavy leather outer curtain and the dusty velvet inner. We must stay near the church entrance. 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.(Cisneros., 1). So, this quotation not only describes the cultural features of the place but also underlines that there are some elements similar to the other regions of the American continent.
The Doubleness in Mericans
This story is crucial in terms of the following themes: bilingual identity, the presence of two different cultures in the same country, the border crossing, and having an insight that there are plenty of people whose home is in two different countries. If you have a closer look at the title of the story, “Mericans,” you’ll see that it is like a combination of two words - Mexicans and Americans. The author took “Me” and the latter part from Americans. The narrator is caught between the two worlds - the old one - Mexican and the new one - American that is associated with something bright and promising. The story shows how the new world is destroying the traditional one - Mexican with its ancient traditions and beliefs. When the grandmother referred to the United States, she used the phrase “born in that barbaric country, with its barbarian ways.” The reader understands that the grandmother is against american society. Her grandchildren have double names, and it reflects their double identities. They are Keeks, Junior, and Michelle by the American border, but being with their abuela on another side, they are called Enrique, Micaela, and Alfredito. The doubleness can be spotted in “Mericans” in different episodes. The grandmother prays in the “dust and dark” church which signifies the past. She is the only one who is still praying in her family, so abuela always prays for her dear people and their wellbeing. She cares for her children and grandchildren and does everything for their comfort. Outside the church, the world is bright and colorful, Keeks adores playing games and having fun - this is the reflection of the US pop culture. The children are playing ugly war games which are associated with a new world distant from the one which existed a long time ago. The granny is seen as depressing due to her manner of praying and expressing herself in Spanish. She is seen as awful because she is associated with the past, something dull, even archaic. Michelle says that her abuela is awful; the granny probably thinks in the same way about her granddaughter because she has limited knowledge of Spanish, doesn’t pray and behave in the proper way, and the last but not the least thing - she was born in a barbaric country. Communication is difficult because family members got used to various languages, and this causes a pile of misunderstandings. The doubleness is seen at the end of the story as well, when the tourists mentioned the “mexican” children and wanted to communicate with them, hoping that they are locals, but the children responded in English and let them know that they were Mericans.
The narrator stresses the similarities and differences between The Latin America and other regions in an episode when a girl briefly describes her relatives analyzing the situation. Her relatives have some habits usual for Hispanic society, but strange for the representative of the other societies. The given relatives also have habits and features, which can be found in people all over the world. Speaking about the grandmother, she is described as a true Hispanic, who always speaks Spain, even when somebody asks her in English. The narrator states The awful grandmother says it all in Spanish, which I understand when I'm paying attention. What? I say, . What?" which the awful grandmother hears as Guat?(Cisneros., 4). By using these elements of the plot the writer presents the cultural features in peoples life and the differences and similarities with the other people all over the world.
To create an atmosphere of the place and to underline the features of culture, the author uses a lot of Spanish geographical names and names of the people. For this purpose, the author uses some meals of Spanish cuisine, describing the habits of the relatives and own tastes. The bgirls Aunt usually has a brain and goat tacos for breakfast. Other examples are the use of the words like plaza, mesquite tree. One of the techniques of the creating of the atmosphere in this work is the episode when the children met tourists. The narrator sees them and understands at once that they arent local people. They're not from here. Ladies don't come to church dressed in pants. And everybody knows men aren't supposed to wear shorts.(Cisneros.,5). The next conversation between the woman tourist and the elder brother of the narrator shows the relationships between countries. The woman tries to speak with the girl in Spanish without knowing that she speaks English. She is surprised, understanding this and the fact that the children call themselves Mericans.
From these facts, one may conclude that the main theme of this short story is a life in Latin America and the similarities of that culture with the others from the American continent. Throughout the whole story, Cisneros portrays the Latin American culture and life of local people. Thus, the author gives a convincing picture of the place and a brief explanation of the Hispanics way of life.
Cisneros, Sandra. "Mericans." Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. New York: Random House, 1991.
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