I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Mexican Daughter Essay
Our readings have talked about reasons we keep secrets from those who know us best. One article also mentioned that reader’s ethnicity plays an important role in how that person interprets the reading. Lastly, keep in mind public displays of hostility toward immigrants in our country. Your essay will discuss all three of these topics.

Part One:

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This book is very much about family members who keep secrets from one another. In class, some of you mentioned a reason for keeping secrets is that we do not want to disappoint our family members. Research shows young people who grow up bicultural confide more in friends than in family members. Consider how easily Julia confided in Lorena and Connor. Consider how Olga trusted Angie but not her own sister. In the last chapter, Julia says,

“In some ways, I think that part of what I’m trying to accomplish—whether Amá really understands it or not—is to live for her, Apá, and Olga…What a waste their journey would be if I just settled for a dull, mediocre life.”

Julia, too, does not wish to disappoint her parents, but her efforts to better herself are at odds with what her parents want for her. This conflict is common among immigrant parents and their US-raised children. How do you see Julia’s two cultures causing her conflict with her parents and with Connor? How did Olga’s two cultures cause her internal conflict? Provide specific examples from the book.

Part Two:

Latinos who read about the Latino experience may feel their own stories are validated. In class, we talked about seeing our own family dynamics in this book. For example. Some of you related to this scene:
“If I don’t kiss each and every relative on the cheek help and goodbye, even if I don’t know them, Amá calls me a malcriada, a badly raised daughter.”

What scenes, behaviors, or events in the book did you find characteristic of the Latino experience? Provide specific examples from the book.

Part Three:

What are your personal thoughts on your own biculturalism? If you are not bicultural, tell me what your thoughts are about what you think it might be like to grow up in two cultures?

What was your personal feeling when you read the parts of the book that showed the Latino experience? Provide specific examples from the book.

Stories about immigrants are one way to increase empathy toward them. If you are not an immigrant, write about what this book makes you think of the immigrant experience. If you are an immigrant, tell me what parts of this book you think will help non-immigrants have greater empathy and less hostility toward immigrants.

Citations encouraged. Examples from the book required.

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