Se Habla Espanol

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The essay “Se Habla Espanol” by writer Tanya Barrientos is a first person narrative describing her life experiences starting from her childhood up through her adult years. Tanya Barrientos is a first generation immigrant, coming from Guatemala at the age of three. In her memoir, Barrientos explains how Americans at that time were not culturally tolerant, and foreigners were expected to “leave their cultural baggage at the border.” As a result, her parents immerse her into the American culture by speaking only English, to ensure her success. However, in doing so she became ashamed of her ethnicity, and failed to identify with her native culture (Roen, Glau, & Maid 2011). . At the age of sixteen her father learned of her reluctance to accept her heritage, and placed into motion a radical plan. Instead of sending her to dance camp in Aspen, he sent her to Mexico. Reluctantly, she did as her father asked and found that he was right. She loved everything about Mexican culture, and returned to the States with a newly found apparition for her Latino roots. Upon her return, however, she found that even though she had accepted her roots, she still fells at odds with being an English-only Latina (Roen, Glau, & Maid 2011). The tone she uses to speak to her audience is serious and calm, almost like a cry for help. She wants her readers to understand her disappointment in herself. To get her point across, she uses straightforward, powerful sentences. It would seem she is trying to find if anyone else feels similar as she does. She has become frustrated with how society sees her, and does not know where she fits in. The purpose of this essay is to expose social barriers, created by stereotypes, and how these stereotypes create outsiders in society. Her primary audience is any Latino or other non-American in a similar situation as herself. However, I also feel she
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