Essay about Zoot Suit

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Zoot Suit, a play written by Luis Valdez, depicts the racially charged trial of the Sleepy Lagoon Case of 1942 in which the courts charged a group of Pachucos with the murder of another Mexican-American. During the 1940s, many Mexican-Americans suffered widespread discrimination as dramatized in Zoot Suit. To combat such discrimination many Chicano youth wore stylized zoot suits, adorned with oversized jackets during fabric shortages as a form of social and political rebellion. Zoot Suiters felt disempowered by their position within society and used their fashion to send out a message and as a means to regain their masculinity. The Pachucos were accused with the murder of a fellow Mexican-American not because of clear evidence or …show more content…

El Pachuco realizes that the 38th Street gang does not look up to standards, “look at your gang, they do look like mobsters” (Valdez). El Pachuco is clearly indignant towards the way in which the court mistreats the Zoot Suiters as seen by the way he stands angrily behind the gang and recognizes the intolerance of the court and judge. Restricting the Zoot Suitors from adjusting their appearances puts them at a disadvantage; instead of looking upright individuals, they are dirty urbanites. Similarly, El Pachuco intervenes again when the court asks that the suspects rise when their names were called in court. Both El Pachuco and the people’s lawyer are infuriated by this proposal. Subjecting them to this treatment is not only self-incriminating, but also groups the Zoot Suiters together and stereotypes them, rather than allowing each of them their own unique identity. When this is proposed El Pachuco says, “ready for the verdict now ese?” and begins to play the piano as the suspects stand and seat themselves. El Pachuco is sarcastic and attempts to make a mockery of the courtroom, having the Zoot Suiters discriminated against and degraded (Valdez). El Pachuco's actions during this moment creates a farce out of the courtroom and highlights yet another way in which the Zoot Suiters were poorly treated. Although the Sleepy Lagoon Case was

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