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Mother Tongue by Demetria Martinez - Essay Example

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In the paper “Mother Tongue by Demetria Martinez” the author analyzes a powerful novel by Demetria Martinez that concerns an individual who gives asylum to a refugee from El Salvador. The individual has ulterior motives for her guest, and sees him as somebody who would complete a missing part of her…
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Mother Tongue by Demetria Martinez
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Download file to see previous pages However, it is clear that Mary needed to fall in love with Jose, or any man who came along to pay her attention, as she did not have a very good image of herself and virtually needed a man to complete here. For Maria, Jose was somebody who could rescue her from her “ordinary life” and ordinary name, Mary. Mary also saw men as “mirrors what allowed me to see myself at different angles. Outside this function, they did not exist” (Martinez, 1994, p. 13). In other words, Jose was a means for escape for Mary, for she viewed her very existence as being mundane and worthless. Men are the reflection for her, as they give her a chance to perhaps see different sides of herself, sides that are more exciting. This is the reason why Mary soon became “Maria,” both because she wanted to become more like Jose Luis and presumably because the name Maria sounds much more exotic than Mary, and Mary was desperate to see herself as somebody she was not. She was thus transposing and projecting her narcissistic dreams of herself onto Jose Luis, which distorted his reality and undermined what he had really gone through in life. He was not a romantic man in shining armor, who would be able to reflect a better reality for Maria. Rather, he was a tormented, damaged soul who could never truly give Mary what she really craved, and this was unconditional love and excitement. Not that Mary did not have some realization of reality, even in the beginning. It just didn't really set in for her, for she continued to see Jose Luis as a romantic figure throughout the novel instead of the damaged man that he was. Mary indicates her at least superficial grasp of reality towards the beginning of the novel - “When desire flickered across my face, he extinguished it with talk of El Salvador, the civil war, death squads, landowners. His struggles were too large and unwieldy to be folded up an dropped into my palm like alms” (Martinez, 1994, p. 13). There is also indication that Mary's perception of Jose Luis distorted his reality because she relied upon a ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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