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Essay Analysis of "Zoot Suit"

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The book Zoot Suit has symbolic significance for Mexican Americans and tells about the riots during World War II. The Sleepy Lagoon Murder was one step in the fight for the rights and respect of Mexican American's. This riot involved young servicemen and civilians who clashed in the streets of the city with young Mexican Americans who wore the noticeable "Zoot Suit." At their height, the riots involved several thousand men and women. In the end no one was killed and only a few were injured but even today, the Zoot Suit riots are remembered for their significance.

Throughout the play there are underlying theme that suggest different ideas. The themes I will discuss is how Mexican American men are portrayed in relation to women and the general public in the United States, the role the press played for the soul purpose of making money, and the struggle of young Mexican Americans to find a place, a style, or a chance to belong and be accepted without a negative stereotype. Pachuco seems to be the nagging conscience of Henry who is on trial for the Sleepy Lagoon Murder. The Pachuco character in his Zoot Suit has a fierce presence, which is seen by the Americans of this time as rebellious and gangster like. When describing the Zoot Suit Pachuco states, "PUT ON A ZOOT SUIT, MAKES YOU FEEL REAL ROOT LOOK LIKE A DIAMOND, SPARKLING, SHINING READY FOR DANCING READY FOR THE BOOGIE TONIGHT THE HEPCATS UP IN HARLEM WEAR THAT DRAPE SHAPE COMO LOS PACHUCONES DOWN IN L.A. WHERE HUISAS IN THEIR PRMPADOURS LOOK REAL KEEN ON THE DANCE FLOOR OF THE BALLROOMS DONDE BAILAN SWING. YOU BETTER GET HEP TONIGHT AND PUT ON THAT ZOOT SUIT!" (p. 26)

This quote shows that the Zoot Suit was intended to be seen as a hip classy style to ...


... middle of paper ...


...t; This quote gives men more worth and respect than women, which is consistent with the feelings words women during this time.

Through analyzing the underlying themes of Zoot Suit it is clear that Pacheco isn't real because sometimes he is really there and other times only Henry can hear him. The press is shown to have a lot of digression and influences on public views but this freedom has allowed a door to open and for something or someone to stand up and fight for their beliefs and make them heard. If the true goal is to have equal treatment of all people no matter color they are, what sex god made them, or what style they choose wear on the outside then this goal will be achieved. The author gives a good representation of true Mexican American beliefs and brings Pacheco to life.

Valdez, Luis. (1992). Zoot Suit. Houston, Texas: Arte Publico Press.



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