Archive for May, 2012

May 14 2012

Cover Letter

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When I first registered for this class I didn’t know what to expect. I liked the way the class was broken down into focusing on just Latino Literature. Honestly, before this class I was never familiar with Latino authors or literary works. I really enjoyed reading the poetry and short stories by these Latino Authors. Overall, I thought the class was well organized and that as a professor you were fair with grades and deadlines. I enjoyed the lectures and learned a great deal about how to write and do close readings and feel that because of this class my close reading and writing skills have improved. I think the idea of doing the 40 blog posts was a good idea because it helps a lot at the end when writing the final paper and is a good way to boost grades. I liked the technique of the PIE paragraphs, I think it was a good way to pull the text apart and interpret quotes. I have taken many English classes and never wrote a PIE paragraph and that is something that I will use in the future when writing papers. This class also made me aware of the use of “to be” verbs and how using less “to be” verbs makes writing flow and sound much clearer, I will definitely take that into consideration when writing other papers in the future as well. I also liked the way you would put the class notes on the blog and would make an outline for the responses and final paper, which was really helpful along with the sample essays you showed us in class to help us with our own work. I thought you were an excellent professor and I learned a great deal from your class, you helped me improve my writing and how to interpret texts which will help me in the future as an English Education major.  Hope you have a great summer!

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May 12 2012

Negativity Of Code Switching: Assimilating To The English Language

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Mexican American novelist Richard Rodriguez put the consequences of English monolingualism and subsequent dissonant acculturation in a more poignant personal vein: “I knew that I had turned to English only with angry reluctance…I felt that I shattered the intimate bond that once held the family close… I was not proud of my mother and father.. I was embarrassed by their lack of education… simply what mattered to me was that they were not like my teachers. (Portes/Rivas 232)

This quote has significant relation to the text “Aria” by Richard Rodriguez in the sense that it refers to the idea of code switching and assimilating to the English language. This quote supports the idea of how language has significance to people’s cultures and has meaning behind it that reflects a person’s identity. In the view of Richard Rodriguez he approaches the idea of assimilating to the English language with great negativity. For instance, “I knew I had turned to English only with angry reluctance…I felt I had shattered the intimate bond that once held the family close..” This quote from Rodriguez shows how he did not support the idea of assimilating to the English language leaving his native language behind. It shows the great significance of language and how a person should always hold on to their native language because that language connects to their identity. In this case Rodriguez doesn’t support the idea of code switching since he feels that switching over from his native language to only English as his primary language makes him feel empty and disconnected from his identity and native language.  I found the last line of this quote to hold significance when he states “simply what mattered to me was that they were not like my teachers”; I felt that this shows how the process of assimilation can be difficult for immigrant families and their children and how the children start to recognize how their parents are not able to help them like their teachers because their parents are unfamiliar with the English language whereas their teachers help them assimilate to the English language through their education.

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May 12 2012

Striving For Success: Being Bilingual Has Its Benefits

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Recent studies consistently report that students coming from bilingual and bicultural background have higher test scores, higher probability of high school graduation, and a higher probability of attending college. ( Portes/Rivas 232)

This relates to the film “Immersion” due to the idea of how it mentions bilingual education and the progress of the students assimilating to the US. The young boy Moises comes from a Spanish speaking family and attends school where the primary language spoken at home, English seems foreign to him. Even though Moises does not understand the English language and attends ESL classes he has higher performance skills than some of the other students in the class. This quote supports the idea that Moises, an immigrant learning to assimilate to the English language is viewed as achieving higher than other students in the school system that already have more familiarity with the English language. Moises set aside a lot of dedication to his school work and put a lot of time and effort into the classes he attended in school achieving higher than other students which shows how he will most likely succeed in the future since he takes his work so seriously even at such a young age.

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May 07 2012

Applying Stereotypical Labels: Prejudice And Discrimination Against Latinos In American Society

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For my final paper I would like to focus on the idea of Latinos assimilating to the US mainstream and the common stereotypes that they face in terms of language. I would like to discuss the idea of English as a Second Language (ESL) and how the children of Latino immigrant families face stereotypes in schools because they are unfamiliar with the English language bringing on hardships for these Latino children. I will apply the idea of the critical lens Structuralism incorporating how code-switching, the mixing of the two different languages, English and Spanish are integrated into the school system. I will focus on the aesthetic texts that show the idea of the hardships that Latinos face through the idea of assimilation along with focusing on texts that show stereotypes towards the Latino population as well, especially in the direction of ESL students. I would like to focus on the poem “Refugee Ship” by Lorna Dee Cervantes, “The Wrong Lunch Line” by Nicholas Mohr, “Aria” by Richard Rodriguez, and “What’s In A Spanish Name?” by Jose Antonio Burciaga. These texts show the idea of stereotypes and the importance of language and how language has changed due to the idea of assimilation taking over, it also shows the idea of the hybrid and how the cultures mix together creating a “new” type of language in some ways.

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May 07 2012

Documented/Undocumented

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I live smack in the fissure between two worlds, in the infected wound: half a block from the end of Western Civilization and four miles from the start of the Mexican-American border, the northernmost point of Latin America. ( Gomez-Pena 2081)

Guillermo Gomez-Pena does not agree with the idea of assimilation and becoming apart of the mainstream. In the essay “Documented/Undocumented” the idea of rejecting the mainstream, or dominant trend of American culture is portrayed throughout the text. The author describes living in a “fissure between two different worlds” which describes how the author is caught between the two different cultures and how they are caught in between the splitting point or crack of falling into the mainstream. The author refers to the idea of living between these two different worlds as being a part of an “infected wound”. This can refer to the idea of how mainstreaming takes over a persons culture through the process of assimilation and how the assimilation into the mainstream will eventually take over the Western civilization and reach the Mexican-American border as well as the northernmost point of Latin America spreading as if it is an “infected wound.”

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May 02 2012

“Refugee Ship”

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Mama raised me without language. I’m orphaned from my Spanish name. The words are foreign, stumbling on my tongue. I see in the mirror my reflection: bronzed skin, black hair. (Cervantes 2011)

Cervantes describes the idea of how she was raised in a household that spoke English as the first language. She explains how she was raised not knowing her native language and referred to this as being “orphaned from her Spanish name”, meaning how she had a Spanish name and yet she did not carry on the Spanish language because it had been unfamiliar to her growing up. She refers to the Spanish language as “the words are foreign, stumbling on my tongue” meaning how the language was not easy for her to understand and how she was not able to pronounce the words correctly. This quote fits the idea of assimilation because the Spanish family has come to America and they do not carry on their native language, the parents taught their children English and they speak English in their household showing how they have assimilated into the American culture. The quote also shows the idea of how she states, “I see in the mirror my reflection: bronzed skin, black hair” meaning she has the Spanish appearance, but doesn’t not speak or understand the Spanish language because her family has assimilated to the American culture speaking English. This idea of assimilation she refers to as being aboard the “refugee ship” because she has left behind her Spanish culture and language.

 

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