American History Critical Analysis

Topics: Self-esteem, Shame, Embarrassment Pages: 3 (1247 words) Published: May 23, 2013
American History Critical Analysis

In the story "American History" the character Elena seems to be very studious and an innocent girl but deep down she is very insecure and ashamed of various aspects in her life. Her character traits seem to constantly relate back to the embarrassment she feels of herself. She has plans for her future which seems to be her only worry until Eugene moves in next store.

Elena is a very intelligent young girl and a hard worker when it comes to her school and education. Although her grades are high, she still cannot be placed in honors classes because English isn't her first language. "Eugene was in honors classes for all his subjects, classes that were not open to me because English was not my first language, though I was a straight A student" (Cofer 34). Elena has a hidden longing to excel in school and better herself with her classes and education. This is very important to her because she wants to be successful so that she can eventually leave El Building. But since she cannot due to her culture and language, it holds her back from doing her best to strive for the goals and high standards that she has set for herself.

Elena is not very expressive she seems to keep to herself often and not show her inner emotions as easily as some do when they open themselves up publicly. Elena expresses her insecurities in a concealed way, she doesn't seek for attention or compliments to help feel better about herself. "I hated my skinny flat chested body, and I envied the black girls who could jump rope so fast that their legs became a blur" (33). Elena has a low self esteem especially with her appearance and capabilities to achieve, she has a lack of confidence which leads her to be very self judging.

Most of Elena's time was spent either at school or in her room of El Building. Elena had a fire escape in her room which was right above her neighbors house. "I had a view of their kitchen and their backyard, and though I could not...
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