Symbolisms in the Play, Zoot Suit

Satisfactory Essays
In the play Zoot Suit, the zoot suit is has many overt and covert symbolisms. The Mexican Americans that wore them see it one way, and their elders and family member another. The police saw it in a completely different way, and even the sailors saw it another. In this section we will analyze how the play portrays the zoot suit. To the Mexican American that wore zoot suits, it was a symbol of pride. Putting on a zoot suit “…MAKES YOU FEEL REAL ROOT LOOK LIKE A DIAMOND, SPARKLING, SHINING…” (Zoot Suit 1.1.3). The zoot suit empowered its wearer, giving them a feeling of bravado and power. The elders of the youths did not think so well of zoot suits. Henry’s father, Enrique, says to Rudy “Hijo, don’t go out like that. Por favor. You look like an idiot, pendejo” (Zoot Suit 1.4.123). Rudy is just starting to wear the zoot suit fashion, but to his parents it is a symbol of childish rebellion. There had clearly been many arguments about it, “I know what mi ‘apa said, ‘ama. I’m going to wear [the zoot suit] anyway” (Zoot Suit 1.4.55). Despite what the parents say, they continue to wear the zoot suits. Police officers and the press saw it as a symbol of crime, gangster activity, worn by pachucos (punks to the police). After the mass arrests, Sergeant Smith shows his disdain of their bravado by saying “You pachucos are regular tough guys” (Zoot Suit 1.3.1). Sergeant Smith is sarcastically calling pachucos tough guys, showing that zoot suits symbolize what he considers is weak. In the next scene, Sergeant Smith states zooters lack discipline and hide behind the zoot suits. “I hear tell you pachucos wear these monkey suits as a kind of armor. Is that right? How’s it work? This is what you zooters need—a little old-fashioned discipline” (Zoot Suit 1.4.41). The Press also adds to zoots suits symbolizing crime, “ZOOT-SUITED GOONS OF SLEEPY LAGOON” (Zoot Suit 1.5.15) and comments such as “The Zoot Suit Crime Wave is even beginning to push the war news off the

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Zoot Suit

    • 710 Words
    • 3 Pages

    are many different pieces to choose from in literature. This paper will be discussing the two novels of Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez and The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols. Zoot Suit is also a play and The Milagro Beanfield War was made into a film. Zoot suit is actually the first Hispanic play to be written. It is to be the only Hispanic play that exists today. The main character in Zoot Suit is Henry Reyna the leader of the 38th street gang. The main character in The Milagro Beanfield war is Joe…

    • 710 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Zoot Suit

    • 753 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Zoot Suits in Zoot Suit Danielle Meyer Watching the movie and even just recognizing the the reasoning behind the title, it is blatantly clear that “zoot suits” were not desirable attire for most people. And by most people, I mean the wealthy, white and conservative. Historically, in 1943 was the year the “zoot suits” took off. Mexican Americans were the main source of the apparel and it was no secret that the police began to discriminate against whoever wore them. In this specific movie we watched…

    • 753 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    zoot Suit

    • 320 Words
    • 1 Page

    Zoot Suit This Film is n Zoot Suit, was produced by Luis Valdez. The film is in a theatrical style and is based on a story involving the real-life events of the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial. This event took place when a group of young Mexican-Americans were wrongfully charged with murder. In the play, Henry Reyna is played by Luis Valdez’ brother, Daniel Valdez and he does a great job creating parallels to the inspired role of Hank Leyvas. Reyna is a pachuco, who was unfairly prosecuted, and then…

    • 320 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Choose your friends wisely because they could be your fortune, or your downfall. In the Mass Arrest, the police arrests the Zoot Suit “gang” during the dance for the Sleepy Lagoon incident where Henry Rena and his friends were accused of murdering José. While situated in jail, the Pachuco tells Henry to not give up and fight back for his friends and family. In the Zoot Suit play, it shows a conversation between Pachuco and Henry, “Pachuco: Forget the war overseas, carnal! Your war is on the homefront…

    • 477 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Zoot Suit Riots

    • 865 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Based on the infamous 1942 "Sleepy Lagoon" murder mystery and the resulting "Zoot Suit Riots" in Los Angeles , playwright Luis Valdez weaves fact and fiction to depict the fate of 22 young Mexican Americans brought to trial for a murder they did not commit. "Zoot Suit" brings together unforgettable characters such as the irreverent El Pachuco and the charismatic Henry Reyna, an unsuspecting gang leader who finds himself caught in the middle of the racially turbulent events that rocked Los Angeles…

    • 865 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Zoot suits riots

    • 716 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Based on the infamous 1942 “Sleepy Lagoon” murder mystery and the resulting “Zoot Suit Riots” in Los Angeles , playwright Luis Valdez weaves fact and fiction to depict the fate of 22 young Mexican Americans brought to trial for a murder they did not commit. The play has symbolic significance for Mexican Americans and tells about the riots during World War II. The Sleepy Lagoon Murder was one step in the fight for the rights and respect of Mexican American's. This riot involved young servicemen…

    • 716 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Zoot Suit Riots

    • 623 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Zoot Suit Riots Zoot suits, associated with the Mexican race, consisted of a long jacket that reached almost to the knees, pants with a "tight stuff cuff", a "wide, flat hat, and Dutch-toe shoes" (Berger 193). These zoot suits were worn by the Mexican youth who were accused of murder on August 2, 1942. People claimed that Jose Diaz was murdered by a gang that had broken up a party at Sleepy Lagoon ranch located close to Los Angeles. However, even though the lower court did convict them of murder…

    • 623 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    Zoot Suits Riot Film

    • 1107 Words
    • 5 Pages

    African Americans of the era. In effect, they tried to disassociate themselves from this faction. Young Latino men referred to themselves as pachucos and sported oversize suits known as zoot suits. In the film Zoot Suit Riots, Joseph Tovares remarkably portrayed the difficult lives of Mexican Americans in the 1940s. Zoot Suit Riots is a powerful film that explores the complicated racial tensions, as well as the changing social and political scene leading up to the riots in the streets of Los Angeles…

    • 1107 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Zoot Suit Riots were a series of racial attacks in 1943 throughout in L.A, California, throughout a amount once several immigrants arrived for the defense effort and new appointed, servicemen flooded Los Angeles. U.S sailors and marines attacked Mexican groups, recognizable by the zoot suits they favored and would always where, as being disloyal. Yank military personnel and Mexicans were the most parties within the riots; servicemen attacked some African yank and Filipino yank youths also,…

    • 1160 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The zoot suit riots were a serious of conflicts that happened in the 1940’s among Los Angeles between U.S. servicemen and Mexican American youths. The pressures of World War II and racial tensions were the cause of the riots. Workers were needed in agriculture and service sectors so the United States brought in temporary workers from Mexico to help but most whites did not welcome them. During the war, various rationing such as restrictions on wool took place. This affected the manufacture of suits…

    • 210 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays