Homophobia in Appearances by Carmen Vasquez

1019 Words5 Pages
Language is a powerful tool. The artful manipulation of language has sparked countless revolutions and has continuously fueled social progression over the course of human history. In Carmen Vàzquez’s “Appearances,” Vàzquez argues that homophobia is a serious concern in society. She rallies for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, to challenge society’s unyielding gender roles and homophobia. Through the art of persuasion, Carmen Vàzquez blended careful diction, emotional stories, and persuasive structure to aggressively address the problem of homophobia both coherently and effectively.
Although language manipulation can be broken into countless categories and sub-categories, diction is arguably the common denominator. When one conducts an analysis of another’s words, it is both logical and necessary for one to address the author’s word choice. Vàzquez’s essay is full of strategically placed adjectives and transitions to pull the reader to her message. She refers to society’s gender roles as being a “straitjacket” that “suffocates” (p. 493, 3rd paragraph). Both of the words “straitjacket” and “suffocates” not only embody the frustration felt by homosexuals, but also suggest that society is bound by its own unreasonable expectations. The author’s metaphorical suffocating straightjacket serves as a signal to the reader that society’s treatment of gender roles is in dire need of reform.
Throughout “Appearances,” Vàzquez strategically crafted words to persuade the reader to recognize the problem and to support her cause. A stark example of this is “It is a frightening reality” (p. 494, 1st paragraph). Instead of writing: “I find this reality frightening,” the author decided to write: “It is a frightening reality.” She clearly expresses not only how she feels, but suggests that it is reasonable for everyone to feel the same way. The words, “Sadly, it is on every level,” (p. 495, 2nd paragraph) are not only an indication that Vàzquez agrees with the statements made in the 20/20 interview, but “Sadly” serves as an indicator that she finds social progression necessary. Although Vàzquez could have simply stated her agreement with the interview, she left no room for misunderstanding when she suggested that the reader should not only agree with, but be saddened by such a truth. It is evident from these examples, that the author strategically used diction to le...

... middle of paper ...

...ted her case coherently and effectively, she did not address all the concerns surrounding the issue of gender roles and homophobia. For instance, there is an argument for both homophobia and gender roles having a biblical origin, and the author did not mention it. Because of this, if the reader was a homophobic, and he or she deeply rooted his or her views in the bible, he or she would probably not be persuaded by Vàzquez’s essay. However, like a lawyer, covering the opposing side could prove destructive to his or her argument. Carmen Vàzquez’s goal was to show the reader that social reform was the only clear option and her essay accomplishes this coherently and effectively.
Through the artful use of careful diction, emotional stories, and persuasive structure, Carmen Vàzquez made her argument very clear. She found that gender roles and the state of homophobia in today’s society was unacceptable, and requested the reader’s cooperation in the struggle to reform society’s views. “Appearances” is an excellent example of an essay with an effective delivery of an argument. This manipulation of language may one day inspire a change in the views of society.
Open Document