Mar 13 2012

Response #3

Published by

Michelle Heckel

Prof. Alvarez

English 255

12 March 2012

The Significance Of Prejudice And Language In Society: The Impact Of People In Nicholas Mohr’s The Wrong Lunch Line And Jose Antonio Burchiaga’s What’s In A Spanish Name

 Nicholas Mohr’s “The Wrong Lunch Line” discusses the idea of prejudice and how it has come to have an effect on society. Throughout this piece of work these two young girls Yvette, a Spanish girl and Mildred a Jewish girl experience the idea of prejudices in their own school on a daily basis. These two young girls, forced to sit separate at lunchtime at school because they come from a different social class and race. The idea of stereotypes among society relates to this because the two young girls experience separation at lunchtime according to their social class rank, which allows society to discriminate against the different class systems. Nicholas Mohr states the following:

The two girls lived just a few houses away from one another. Yvette lived on the top floor of a tenement, in a four-room apartment, which she shared with her parents, grandmother, three older sisters, two younger brothers and baby sister. Mildred was an only child. She lived with her parents in the three small rooms in back of the candy store they owned. (Mohr 1056)

This quote basically states how the two girls experience prejudice and stereotypes through their living conditions. It states how even though the two girls lived only a few houses away they had totally different lifestyles. The quote shows how Yvette lived in a tenement, a small, rundown, overcrowded apartment building made up of multiple families living in the same building, whereas Mildred lived in the candy store that her family owned. The significant key words in this case, “tenement”, “shared” and “owned”, signify these families class rank in society. For instance, the word “shared” has significance in this case because it shows how Yvette had to share her four-room apartment with such a large amount of family members. The stereotype in this case, directed toward Hispanic families having large families and many of their relatives living under the same household plays a role in the text. In the case of Mildred the word “owned” signifies how Mildred was of a higher-class rank since her family owned their own property, the candy store. This gives a clear distinction between the two girls and the different lifestyles they lived even though they both lived on the same block in the same neighborhood.  It shows how the different races have different lifestyles and how society looks upon them through such stereotypes.

Jose Antonio Burciaga discusses the importance of language in a humorous way throughout his passage “What’s in a Spanish Name?” Throughout the passage he puts emphasis on bilingual speakers “formations and pronunciation” of words and how this effects the meaning of the words in the language. The passage speaks about the importance of language and how spoken language and written language can influence the meaning of the words in a specific language. Jose Antonio Burciaga states:

In politics and cross-cultural situations, words, ideas and objects constantly assimilate, “transculturate”, or adapt for the sake of survival. (Burciaga 1238)

The key words in this quote “assimilate”, “transculturate”, and “adapt” signify the importance of language in different cultures. So many different words make up a language and each language has its own significance. Some words in a language have different meanings; one language may look at a word as meaning one thing, while another culture may refer to that same word using a different meaning. The key word “assimilate” signifies how people of different cultures bring their language to other parts of the country, eventually becoming familiar with the new language and making their own meaning of what the language refers to. It states how these countries eventually “assimilate” and become part of the culture, in some cases the languages of different cultures blend together making one language such as in the text “Spanglish” evolves. The term “transculturate” also has significance because people bring languages from all over the world and people eventually become familiar with different languages and some words may have the same meaning in one language, but have a different meaning in another language, which makes each language significant in some way. In the end, even though through our everyday lives we expose ourselves to these different languages, as people we adapt to what surrounds us, becoming a part of our survival. This quote shows the importance of the languages people speak and how different languages can have similarities and differences through the meaning of the words in different languages, for instance, a word in English may or may not mean the same thing when translated into the Spanish language making these languages unique.


Work Cited

Burciaga, Jose Antonio. “What’s in a Spanish Name?” 1995. The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. Eds. Ilan Stavans, et al. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011. 1237-1240. Print.

Mohr, Nicholas. “The Wrong Lunch Line: Early Spring 1946.” 1975. The Norton Anthology of   Latino Literature. Eds. Ilan Stavans, et al. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011. 1056-1059. Print.


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One response so far

One Response to “Response #3”

  1.   salvarezon 20 Mar 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Michelle, a great response here, and some fine writing. I’ve really noted how your writing has improved over the semester, and I hope you notice the difference as well.

    First off, I like your title, but I have some suggestions. You wrote:

    The Significance Of Prejudice And Language In Society: The Impact Of People In Nicholas Mohr’s The Wrong Lunch Line And Jose Antonio Burchiaga’s What’s In A Spanish Name

    The two parts are there, but I would recommend moving that first piece to the second half, and getting rid of what you have for the second part. In other words, revising the second half to resemble:

    : The Significance Of Prejudice And Language in Nicholas Mohr’s The Wrong Lunch Line And Jose Antonio Burchiaga’s What’s In A Spanish Name

    What you have in the first part here looks like how you will interpret the Lit, so that should go to the second part. The first part still needs that “catchy” thing to draw in your audience. For example, maybe “Speaking ‘Spic'” (notice the quotation marks around Spic). Those words have some alliteration going, and also uses a racial epithet. If that doesn’t draw in an audience . . . so maybe your version might look like:

    Speaking “Spic”: The Significance Of Prejudice And Language in Nicholas Mohr’s The Wrong Lunch Line And Jose Antonio Burchiaga’s What’s In A Spanish Name

    A little different right? Again you have all the pieces though, keep practicing.

    I like the PIE paragraphs, they look great.

    In terms of the content here, I think you’ll notice that racism and “racialization” happen in interesting ways in Latino lit. With the Mohr text we see it happen from the perspective of children and how they come to understand racism and racial qualities, as well as how social class gets folded in with this (as you rightly point out). You might ask yourself about the significance of representing children in lit coming to grips with these categories and how that affects identity development.

    Also: take note of some of the critical terms you’ll encounter when browsing articles on the databases, and think of some words you could add. Finally, take note as to how different critics use academic titles and how they form PIE paragraphs. You’ll see some variance in terms of what we covered in this class, but you’ll notice that some of the structures remain consistent, especially in terms of citing sources, explaining them, and the two-part academic title.

    For your Works Cited and MLA
    –Perfect job on the Works Cited, great work!
    –I counted only 1 “to be” verb. Again, great work! I hope you notice how choosing the right verb increases your prose’s clarity.

    4.9 out of 5 possible points.

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