Narrative by Judith Ortiz Cofer

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The narrative written by Judith Ortiz Cofer discusses some of the many experiences she has encountered throughout her life dealing with stereotypes and common misconceptions of Latin American women. To further engage her audience in the story, she provides detailed past experiences that have stood out to her the most. In order for the readers to fully understand those past encounters, some of which are cultural and common among Latinos, Cofer explains them in careful detail. For example, Cofer explains the concept of piropos which are poems composed on the spot by men to women as a form of admiration. This helps her introduce the audience to her own experiences with piropos and how she has dealt with them throughout her life. One of the instances in the narrative really makes the reader understand Cofer’s anger when a well-established man who should know better mocked her with a song thinking that it’s completely acceptable because she was Latin. Cofer also educates the audience by explaining the role of women when approached by men reciting a piropo. Women should not acknowledge this kind of attention although someone from the mainstream culture would think that Latin women are seeking this and approve of it because of the way they dress. The author uses piropos as a gateway to explain certain parts in the story such as the beginning. The narrative starts off with Cofer on a bus who is spotted by a man that recites a rendition of “Maria” from West Side Story. She uses this instance as a way to explain how although she has left her country, learned a new language and is far from the Island, none of that matters because of the looks she has inherited and the stereotypes that exist about Latin women in society today. Nataliya Pen

Cofer narrates her experience on Career Day in high school to explain how Latin women are perceived by mainstream American culture. She does this by describing what Latin girls wear in comparison to what conservative...
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