A Lack Of Personal Identity

703 Words3 Pages
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, data from the 2014 Census found 42.4 million immigrants live in the United States. Even if someone is an immigrant or citizen, they have a personal identity, a concept of themselves gradually decided. However, many immigrants suffer a lack of personal identity due to conflicting cultures. This can manifest in different forms such as wanting to be someone else or hating their culture. In “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan and “American History” by Judith Ortiz Cofer, the authors use word choice to emphasize how immigrant children lose their personal identity due to conflicting cultures. Through the process of finding a talent to reach the “American Dream”, Jing-Mei from “Two Kinds” loses her personal identity.…show more content…
When Elena talks about her apartment building, she describes it as “The Puerto Rican tenement ….a monstrous jukebox, blasting out salas….trying to drown out whatever they were currently enduring with loud music”(Cofer 1). Elena views the area as harsh and cruel like a monster, “blasting” out sounds and “enduring” life instead of enjoying it. Additionally, she uses the words such as “drown out” and “tenement”, forcing a image of the inhabitants as alcoholics and poor; therefore, casting herself as inferior. Finally, Elena views herself as second class and aspires to be like Eugene's family. When Elena gets rejected by Eugene's mom, Elena describes the mother as “[with] a halo of red hair floating over a delicate ivory face.” (Cofer 11). Even with the rejection Elena faces, she still looks up to Eugene's mother. She describes the mother with “a halo” and “a delicate ivory face”, as if she was an angel. By using those specific words such as “ivory”, Elena’s view of white people as above her and herself as second class is confirmed. Furthermore, by describing the mother as a angel and Eugene as the “only one source of beauty and light for me”(Cofer 7) Elena also reveals how much she looks up to and dreams of being like Eugene's family, even after she faces rejection because of racism and stereotypes. Elena looks up to the white…show more content…
Both Jing-Mei in “Two Kinds” and Elena in “American History” had different families and cultures, but their struggles with identity were the same: they both were children of immigrants wanting to be a better image of their current selves but lost their identity in the
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