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Cultural Identity Paper

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Cultural Identity is a person’s background and also how you can refer to a person. A person’s culture is usually what they are from, what language they speak and their religion. Alice Walker and Sandra Cisneros both have similar attitudes towards the idea that one should never forget ones cultural identity, no matter the circumstances. They both believe that one’s cultural identity is exceedingly important. In Walker’s work “Without Commercials”, Walker brings across a tone of frustration. This frustration is coming from the fact that she does not believe that one should have to change oneself to be able to fit in or be accepted. In Cisneros’s work “No Speak English”, Cisneros brings across a tone of sympathy. This sympathetic tone is formed with Mamacita in mind because of the pressure she is under from her husband who is trying to make her learn English. Cisneros believes that she shouldn’t have to learn English so she can stay connected with her culture. Both of their attitudes toward cultural identity are that they believe that one’s cultural roots and background are very important.

Alice Walker uses simple sentences, allusions, and ________ to bring out her attitude of frustration toward the idea that people try to change themselves to fit in or be accepted. Walker starts off her poem with a simple imperative sentence: “Listen,/ stop tanning yourself” (lines 1-2). The simple imperative sentence being used by the author indicates that she wants the catch the reader’s attention. An imperative sentence gives a direct command. Walker begins her poem frustrated already with the people who change themselves to be able to fit in or be accepted. She is telling them to stop changing themselves. She believes that people don’t have to change to fit in or be accepted. This frustration brings out her attitude toward the acceptance of one’s cultural identity. Walker compares all people to Adam and Eve:

For we are all
splendid
descendants
of Wilderness,
Eden:
needing only
to see
each other
without
commercials
to believe.

Copied skillfully
as Adam.

Original

as Eve. (lines 92-106)
This allusion is a complement to the ones who are trying to change themselves to fit in or be accepted. Walker believes that all people are beautiful the way they are and are all perfect like Adam and Eve. Her tone toward the people that this poem is directed toward has changed throughout the poem to become a more sweet and convincing tone. This tone is to help try and convince the people that this poem is directed toward that they are perfect the way they are. This shows that Walker believes that it is pointless to change oneself when everybody is perfect as they already are. Walker uses another imperative sentence in her poem:

Stop bleaching
your skin
and talking
about
so much black
is not beautiful. (lines 60-65)

Alice Walker again uses an imperative sentence to command the directed audience to stop bleaching their skin. The black skin is a symbol for cultural identity. By bleaching ones skin, one washes away their culture is what Walker is trying to imply.

Sandra Cisneros uses repetition, in her work to reveal her attitude toward the idea that one should never forget where one comes from or who one really is, no matter the circumstances. Mamacita doesn’t think she can get used to living in the United States: “¿cuándo, cuándo, cuándo? She asks./ İAy, caray! We are home. This is home” (lines 36-37). The repetition of the word “cuándo” from Cisneros reveals Mamacita’s desire to be home. When she arrives at her new home, you get the sense that she doesn’t feel as if she is in the right place. She wants to go back home to Puerto Rico. Also her husband’s commanding imperative response of, “This is home” creates tension between the two. Cisneros’ attitude can be seen through the way Mamacita is in desperation. Her husband does not show any sympathy towards her, only commanding her that she is already home. Cisneros feels sympathetic toward Mamacita because she doesn’t believe that people should have to change unless they really want to. Mamacitas husband is forcing her to change and Cisneros doesn’t believe that that is right because one should be able to have their own cultural identity and be somewhat different from other people.

Cisneros also brings out her attitude through hyperbole: “Mamacita, who does not belong, every once in awhile lets out a cry, hysterical, high, as if he had torn the only skinny thread that kept her alive” (lines 39-40). Cisneros feels sympathetic towards Mamacita which can be seen through Cisneros’ use of the hyperbole, “as if he had torn the only skinny thread that kept her alive.” Cisneros’ use of this hyperbole reveals how Mamacita’s husband is constantly trying to Americanize her which is tearing her cultural identity away from her. Cisneros exaggerates the feelings of Mamacita to reveal her sympathetic attitude. Cisneros exaggerates Mamacita’s pain and struggle because she wants the reader to understand what she is going through and understand the sympathy Cisneros feels for Mamacita. This proves that Cisneros is sympathetic toward Mamacita and it reveals that her attitude toward the idea that one should never forget where one comes from or who one really is, no matter the circumstances is positive. Cisneros believes that one should never have to change oneself under any position.

Alice Walker and Sandra Cisneros both have the idea that one should never forget where one comes from or who one really is, no matter the
circumstances. They both believe that one’s cultural identity is exceedingly important. It is important to never forget who one really is without any changes or modifications because that person is true person not trying to be something that they are not.

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