Many authors often write about American identity. Authors Dwight Okita, and Sandra Cisneros both developed a common theme in their texts, “Response to Executive Order 9066” and “Mericans”. In both texts, the theme of ethnic profiling is present. This is a common issue in American culture today, making these two texts stand out. The authors are able to develop their common theme with literary devices such as metaphor, dialogue, and Irony that can be found throughout both texts to support the theme that ethnic profiling is an issue in culture everywhere.
The use of metaphor can be found throughout the novel In “Response to Executive Order 9066” by Dwight Okita, Denise the speakers friend refers to the tomato’s as “love apples”. (Line 4) Later when her friend no longer wants anything to do with her, she gives her a packet of tomato seeds. She then “asked her to plant them for me, told her when the first tomato ripened she’d miss me.” (Lines 22-25) This metaphor creates a sense of compassion in the reader, showing how many people don’t really understand others from outside of their own ethnic bubble.
Dialogue is also used throughout “Mericans” by Sandra Cisneros. When the speaker repeats the phrase “Awful Grandmother” to describe her grandmother who is kneeling at mas, and when the grandmother uses the word “barbarian” to describe the place the children were born. The grandmother is clearly not awful and the children were not born in a barbaric place. The culture and place they grew up, gave the speaker and the grandmother different understandings of who they each really are.
In both texts the authors use Irony to convey their messages of racial profiling in american culture. In the passage “Response to Executive Order 9066” by Dwight Okita, the speaker who is a fourteen-year-old, American of Japanese descent says “ I have always felt funny using chopsticks and my favorite food is hot dogs.”, (Lines 8-9) which in turn creates a sense of Irony since her cultural background would suggest otherwise. In the passage, “Mericans” by Sandra Cisneros a couple walks up to the church that doesn’t seem to be from around there and starts speaking to the children in spanish until Michelle’s older brother Junior speaks in english saying ‘Hey, Michelle, Keeks. You guys want gum?’ (Par 21), causing the couple to respond swiftly in shock with the phrase ‘But you speak English!’. The couple assumed their ethnic identity but were quickly mistaken. This helps further develop the authors theme of ethnic profiling.
Ethnic profiling is an issue in culture everywhere. Authors Dwight Okita, and Sandra Cisneros try to make it more noticed by giving real life scenarios in which it has happened. Dwight Okita showing readers a more harsh scenario whereas, Sandra Cisneros shows readers a more casual interaction in society. Both of the authors effectively used metaphor, dialogue and irony to convey the theme that ethnic profiling is an issue in all cultures today.
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