Sunday, April 22nd, 2012...7:51 pm

30. Richard vs. Ricardo

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“Outside of the house was public society; inside the house was private. Just opening or closing the screen door behind me was an important experience…Nervously, I’d arrive at the grocery store or hear there the sounds of the gringo – foreign to me – reminding me that in this world so big, I was a foreigner. But then I’d return… I’d hear voiced beyond the screen doors talking in Spanish. For a second or two, I’d stay, linger there, listening. Smiling, I’d here my mother call out, saying in Spanish (words) : ‘Is that you, Richard’ All the while her sounds would assure me: You are home now; come closer; inside. With us” (Rodriguez 1578-1579)

This notion of the public domain vs. the private domain is a recurring theme in the immigrant narrative. This particular story reminds me of Gloria Anzaldúas “Borderlands / La Frontera” because the private and public seem to be separated by a border.  The screen door that opens and closes parallels the notion of the “borderland.” On one side, Richard is a foreigner walking nervously amongst “gringos.” On the other side, in private, Ricardo could speak Spanish and feel comfortable. The Spanish words that his mother speaks translates into something different for him: “You are home now; come closer; inside. With us,” they are words of comfort. On the other hand, the “sounds of the gringos” are foreign. For Richard, Spanish words are the words of home, while English words are the words of the “public society” that only bring him discomfort and nervousness and constantly remind him that he is a “foreigner.”

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2 Comments

  • Alexandra, I have you down for all ten points this round. You really have a lot of directions you could go with your final essay I think. In this round, I could see lots of search terms coming into play: things like “language identity immigrant” and also the term “trans” with identity would prove some cool things, of course, dealing with Latino groups. Which of the creative texts would you possibly like to explore in detail a bit futher. You might have to add a few more pieces of PIE paragraphs to poems or stories/writers you would want to zero in on.

    You might also be able to cut and paste some of these E sections to help you read whatever text(s) you focus on.

    10 out of 10 points this round. Great job!

  • Also, please note NO CLASS on Monday, April 30th.

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