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Outsiders (Essay Sample)

The stories we've read this week stress the notion of "outsiders" in society, people who are made to feel some level of shame because of their ethnicity or identity. Which of the three stories stood out as the most powerful to you and why? Can you relate to any of the feelings and emotions conveyed in these works? The stories are: Who's Irish? By Gish Jen, Never Marry a Mexican by Sandra Cisneros, and Song of Lawino: My Husband's Tongue Is Bitter. source..

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‘My Husbands Tongue is Bitter’ revolves around Lawino , who laments the loss of her husband to her ‘rival’ Clementina .We see a disobedient husband verbally abusing his outwardly miserable wife. The husband has accepted western ways, rejected her and taken another westernized woman who is Tina. Here we see how her husband recognizes her with a backward identity.
In ‘Who is Irish’ the narrator is a grandmother who is more immersed in her Chinese culture. She looks down upon her son- in- law’s Irish family because he is unemployed but still she has to help them in babysitting Sophie, her grandchild. She and her daughter also differ about how to discipline her, Sophie ends up disobeying her and this causes a conflict between the grandmother, her daughter an her son-in-law. She is later sent to stay with her son-in-laws mother. This shows generational conflicts complicated by cultural difference and ethnicity to some level.
‘Never Marry a Mexican’ by Sandra Cisneros revolves around Clemencia, who is a Mexican-American, spanning two different cultures. Hatred in Clemencia causes her to behave in a defiant and vicious way. Because of her mother's influences and when she abandons the family for white men, Clemencia feels total hate towards whites and she also share her negative feelings towards the Mexican race .She and her siblings feel out of place after her mother marries a white man and therefore finds it hard going back to their house to stay with their half brothers. All the three stories therefore, show people who are made to feel shame because of their ethnicity/identity but to different levels.
In ‘My Husband’s tongue is bitter’ Lawino says “My husband’s tongue is bitter’: “Husband, now you despise me.  Now you treat me with spite and say I have inherited the stupidity of my aunt.”It appears that, Lawino’s well educated husband has adopted Western ways, abandoned her, and taken another, westernised woman. Lawino also says “Bile burns my inside! I feel like vomiting! For all our young men were finished in the forest, their manhood was finished in the class-rooms; their testicles were smashed with large books (Okot, 1986)!” by this she i...
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