Analysis Of Muy Macho : Latino Men Confront Their Manhood
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Everyone has their own distinctive identity and culture which allow them an unique individual. Identity can be defined as a set of characteristics and beliefs that can be associated with a particular person or a certain group. Culture has a huge influence on one's life because it is a factor help shape one’s identity. In Muy Macho: Latino Men Confront Their Manhood, the book explores the theme cultural identity through Latino men. The theme can be seen in stories such as, “Me Macho, You Jane” where the author Gilb discusses his and others perception of him and his identity and in “The Puerto Rican Dummy and the Merciful Son” where Espada tries to educate his son about the bigotry around them. Both of these stories contain individuals whose identities are affected stereotypes, culture, and prejudices.
In the story, “Me Macho, You Jane” Gilb start by stating that throughout his life, people would assume that he act a certain way due to his background. In the beginning of the story, he writes “I’ve been accused of suffering from involuntary macho spasms… another one is that its Mexican blood” (Gilb 3). He shows that people just label and identify him, instead of getting to know him. They also imply that he behave a specific way because of his ethnicity. Another quote that shows individuality can be affected by culture is when Gilb’s coworker presume Gilb’s masculinity, “‘He’s so macho. Like you…’ so how come she decides she knows me, know my ‘good’ or ‘bad’ machismo” (Gilb 4). Gilb’s coworker determines that Gilb was macho even though she had no prior knowledge about him and she associates him to his culture. Gilb explains that he does not understand why she judged his character because he had never interacted with her. In addition, culture stereotype can affect a way people can perceive an individual. For example, Gilb thought it was unfair that the coach was yelling at his son and at the heat of the moment, he blurted out “‘Mother-fucker, you leave him alone’… now he had confirmed that I was from the crass, violent, low-class, vulgar, gang-ridden, unfit-to-lead culture” (Gilb 14). This shows that the coach wanted Gilb to act this way so he can show that all Latino are alike. If taken out of context, this shows