Se Habla Espanol Tanya Barrientos Essay

Analysis of Se Habla Espanol
David S
English 115


In her essay Se Habla Espanol, Tanya Barrientos talks about her struggle with growing up in America speaking only English. She discusses how she has struggled with both fitting into the American culture, and how also how she doesn’t fit into the Latin-American culture either. Tayna has two main audiences intended for this essay. Her primary audience is any people who find themselves in a similar situation. She seems to want to help them feel its okay to not fit in either group perfectly. Her secondary audience is all the members of the main culture. She wants them to recognize the situation and be accepting of those who don’t perfectly fit the group or the group’s stereotype.
Tanya struggled particularly in her youth through her twenties with the expectation everyone had of her because of her Guatemalan heritage and physical appearance. Everyone expected her to speak Spanish despite the fact that she grew up in Texas and spoke only English. As she grew older, she began to struggle as America’s culture changed to be more accepting of blending other cultures into our own culture. She tried so hard to fit into the English speaking, Caucasian Texas culture. Now she also doesn’t fit in with the fluent Spanish speaking Latin-Americans either. She feels she is alone in her struggle, and hopes to encourage other Latin American’s that may feel the same way. This was the main point in writing this article. To help anyone who is struggling with the fact they don’t fit into their surrounding culture, find inner strength and accept them self for who they are. She strategically emphasizes this point in her final paragraph by stating, “There must be other Latina’s like me. But I haven’t met any. Or, should I say I haven’t met any who have fessed up… I wish we all had the courage to come out of our hiding places… Without having to offer apologies or show remorse.” (Barrientos, 2011) She then closes the essay by making a...

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The Power of Language Essay examples

1074 WordsMay 7th, 20125 Pages

The Power of Language
Language plays an important role in communication by bringing people together and enriching their relationships. Language can also alienate those who do not speak it properly, or at all, from those who do. The essays, Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan, best known for her book, The Joy Luck Club, and Se Habla Espanol, by Tanya Barrientos, delve into the many powers that language holds. These essays reflect how by not speaking a language in proper form and by not speaking a language at all, affects the lives of the subjects of the stories.
People who can speak a certain language, but only in ‘broken’ form, are generally looked down upon by native language speakers. In her writing, Mother Tongue, Amy Tan writes about her…show more content…

However, many Hispanic families were and in some cases, still are viewed as lower-class citizens. According to Barrientos, “To me, speaking Spanish translated into being poor. It meant waiting tables and cleaning hotel rooms. It meant being left off the cheerleading squad and receiving a condescending smile from the guidance counselor when you said you planned on becoming a lawyer or a doctor” (561). They are not respected in a lot of communities, they live dirty, and they have bad jobs. These stereotypes are reasons why Barrientos did not want to be called Mexican and never wanted to learn Spanish. If diversity had been celebrated when Barrientos was a child, as it is celebrated and honored now, she would have grown up speaking Spanish and being proud of her heritage.
Children are very impressionable and tend to take on others’ opinions as their own, but as they grow older, they develop a greater understanding and perspective of the way things are and the way they should be. As adults, both Tan and Barrientos learned to accept and embrace the languages that previously embarrassed them. Barrientos immersed herself in her Mexican heritage and enrolled in many Spanish classes. With each enrollment, she faced yet another stereotype that came with being of Mexican ethnicity; her instructors thought she should already know Spanish since she was Latina. Barrientos is now determined to learn her native language. Tan has learned to love the way in

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