The Isolation of Minorities by Society Essay Example
Introduction--Society’s tendency to isolate minorities is shown through the first-person view of stories written by minorities. All three narrators discussed below, who are all minorities, feel isolated in society. The inner thoughts and the actions of the narrators are what inform us of their true feelings. The characterization of the narrators in “The Boundary” by Jhumpa Lahiri, “Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan and “Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie, show that society outcasts and excludes minorities.
The characterization of the narrator in “Boundary” reveals the isolated and excluded feelings of the narrator due to her nationality. The narrator is a minority, presumably Indian. She discusses how she feels uncomfortable in social situations. “My father drives me to school, where I feel out of place. I don’t mix easily with others; I don’t look like anyone else.” Being unique isn’t inherently a bad thing, but society makes her feel as if she should look like everyone else to fit in better. The unwritten but understood code of society is what causes minorities to become isolated. Another example of this unfair discrimination is shown in the short story “Fish Cheeks.”
The characterization of the narrator in “Fish Cheeks” shows how Tan felt ashamed of her Chinese culture because society depicts other cultures as abnormal and unorthodox. “Fish Cheeks” is a story about a pre-teen aged Chinese girl who wishes to be more like the American girls at her school. Tan says, “I prayed for this blond-haired boy, Robert, and a slim new American nose.” Robert is the American boy she has a crush on. When Tan’s mother invites Robert and his family over for Christmas dinner, Tan should be ecstatic, but instead she cries. “What would Robert think of our shabby Chinese Christmas?
What would he think of our noisy Chinese relatives who lacked proper American manners?” Chinese culture is beautiful and should be celebrated, yet Tan is embarrassed by it because it isn’t considered “normal” by society in America. Minorities are expected to forget their own cultures to adapt to American customs because they are more accepted. This practice is unjust and should not be pushed by the public. Minorities should not be expected to fly under the radar, as it is unfair and offensive.
The characterization of the narrator in “Superman and Me” shows how the narrator must conform to low social expectations due to his Native American identity. Sherman Alexie writes about how as a child, he was intelligent and determined, but felt as he should underperform his abilities because he was not white. “We were Indian children who were expected to be stupid. Most lived up to those expectations inside the classroom but subverted them on the outside.” This quote expresses how Alexie observed Native American children were underachievers in school, yet showed their true brilliance outside of school, with their Native American friends and family. Alexie also says that he’s surprised he became a writer. “I was certainly never taught that Indians wrote poetry, short stories and novels. Writing was something beyond Indians.” This proves how minorities aren’t given the same encouragement white children are given. According to society, white children can be anything they want, while minorities should stay in the background.
These stories show how tough it can be to feel unwelcomed or unloved. The way the public ostracizes minorities is unjust and heartbreaking. Minorities are given less opportunities and are rarely represented in the media. As a society, there is a need to change the untrue biases held about minorities and start celebrating the unique and beautiful cultures of them. There has been progress made in changing these stereotypes, but there is still a long way to go until minorities and white people are equal as they should be. Which is why these stories are so important. With them, eyes can be opened, and change can be made.