Stereotypes in Los Vendidos

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Don't live up to your stereotypes. –Sherman Alexie. In Luis M. Valdez’s Los Vendidos the author is internalizing this quote by Alexie and portraying Mexican stereotypes through the characters he has employed in the short one-act play. Los Vendidos is set in Honest Sancho’s Used Mexican Lot and Mexican Curio Shop where Sancho has on display various Mexicans machines with different characteristics. All characters and their characteristics in Los Vendidos represent a stereotype of the Mexican people. Honest Sancho, a character in Los Vendidos sells his own Mexican people to ignorant Americans that believe they are purchasing machines. Honest Sancho’s is not an honest man. Honest Sancho is a dishonest salesman that can get away with being dishonest by playing on the ignorance of his customers. Honest Sancho presents his models as machines even though they are humans because his customers buy into the idea of purchasing cheap labor. Honest Sancho’s is not a con artist because he plays on the witlessness of Americans as a result of stereotypes they use to classify others. Honest Sancho’s first customer can be classified as a typical Mexican-American stereotype. Miss Jimenez, the Secretary is a stereotypical Mexican American because she attempts to separate herself from her own people. Miss Jimenez is Mexican American that identifies most closely with her American side. Miss Jimenez’s rejection of being Mexican becomes apparent when she tells Sancho: “My name is Miss JIM-enez. Don’t you speak English? What’s wrong with you?” Miss Jimenez pronounces her Mexican last name in an Anglo pronunciation. Just from the way she tells Honest Sancho to pronounce her name the audience can conclude that in some way she does not identify with her own culture. Miss Jimenez has gone against her ethnic identity to fit in with what is American and what is culturally accepted in America.

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