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Study Guide - Assignment Example

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Julia Alvarez, in her essay, “I Want to be Miss America,” writes about her family, which has immigrated to the United States from Dominican Republic. The story’s main focus is the struggle an immigrant does to conform to a new society in which he or she settles. It is…
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Download file to see previous pages However, when people from a different country relocate to that society, they find it extremely difficult to adapt to the new culture and such individuals confront many issues that may entail personality conflicts. The author, through her essay, has been able to demonstrate the problems she has encountered in becoming American and it clearly depicts how immigrants feel in an alien land.
The society prescribes a high standard on outward appearances, especially in the context of females. Thus, they are forced to harbor certain notions on how a woman should look. The concept of beauty also changes as a person moves from one society to the other. In her essay, Alvarez illustrates this eloquently when she shows the sisters watching the Beauty Pageant. They actively discuss about different contestant, opining who should win and who should not. During all these, they feel themselves intimidated by the notion that they may not ever be able to win the Miss America Pageant because they are not “American.” Through the description of the inner feelings of the sisters, Alvarez provides her audience a subtle hint that the sisters do not feel “belonging” to the American culture. Their alienation becomes evident when they think that they will have to change their appearance to “English, iron and tweeze them out, straighten them, mold them into Made-in-the-USA beauty” (Alvarez Page).
Jim Barnes’ poem, “Return to La Plata, Missouri,” evokes a sense of nostalgia, where the poet recalls the memories of his town, saying goodbye to it. Like many of his other poems this is also focused on the description of a place. The city, like many others around the world, has all the evils, hidden beneath its red sheath that slowly turns brown. At the first reading, a reader may not clearly understand many of the imagery and how the writer connects these to the evils that hide within the dark recesses of cities. However, a close reading makes it clear that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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