In the novel The Moths And Other Short Stories, Helena Maria Variations writes the life’s struggles of what Latinist in Los Angels, and maybe around the world, may have to experience through the different Latin characters in the novel. Each chapter represents a different experience these Latinist may face as they become adolescents and enter adulthood.
The characters in the novel cover different aspects of a Latinist’s life as they experience abortion, religion, family culture and even death. These experiences are told by Variations, who herself is Latin and grew up in Los Angels, where the novel’s setting takes place. Although it is not confirmed that these experiences may have happened to her, Variations may act as a primary source as she is Latin herself and she may have known someone who has experienced some similar things that the characters in the novel experience.
A Day Without A Mexican, is a satirical film that shows the stereotypes of Mexicans in Los Angels, the same setting where the novel takes place. These territories are created through the popular culture in Los Angels as the city is home to many Mexican-American decedents. Similar to the novel, these stereotypes are experienced through the eyes of Mexican-Americans living in Los Angels.
They show, in a comedic way, some of the aspects of being Mexican-American in Los Angels. Losing techniques in Toni Morrison “Black Matters,” the audience can be influenced to believe a certain way depending on how much exposure they have on a certain ethnic group; the credibility of the stereotypes coming from different ethnic groups; and how the ethnic and ender background of the writers play a role in the way the characters are portrayed in the film and in the novel.
In Toni Morrison “Black Matters,” one thing Morrison writes about is how certain literary works, in particular ethnic writing, may have an influence on its audience depending on how much exposure the audience has on a particular group of ethnic people (Morrison 13). Morrison writes about how readers may limit themselves on what they know because of the information that is perceived in the books they have read or may have studied; she entities by listing a number of African-American writers and the major themes of their novels, explaining the importance of reading these literary works by ethnic writers of the same ethnicity.
Morrison idea of how some readers may limit themselves on what they know because of the books they read or study can be applied to the film A Day Without A Mexican. For example, the stereotypes Of Mexicans the movie begins to illustrate in the very beginning of the film include: Mexicans jumping the boarder into California to escape poverty in Mexico; Mexicans being portrayed as undocumented immigrants and working illegally in California; and Mexicans working in California as farmers, herders and other manual labor jobs, just to name a few.
The audience watching this film is only exposed to these particular views of Mexicans, the view that is being illustrated in the film. The audience is not being exposed to other aspects of a Mexicans life, like the Latin characters that are portrayed in the novel, The Moths And Other Short Stories. Instead, the film displays popular stereotypes of Mexicans and it creates the illusion that all Mexicans have these characteristics.
The audience is led to believe that this is the way all Mexicans are because the film limits them to this belief; the film does not display an accurate statistic of how many Mexicans in California carry the characteristics that was previously mentioned nor does it state how Mexicans in other parts of the united States are perceived.
Morrison example how students may be limited to certain ethnic writers because of the the amount of exposure they have to these writers, can also be seen in the film A Day Without A Mexican as the film also limits he audience to perceiving certain aspects and stereotypes of a Mexican rather than analyzing all aspects of a Mexican. The stereotypes displayed in the film is a result of what society has created from what is perceived in large cities like Los Angels, but these stereotypes are displayed from another ethnic background as opposed to the novel where the author herself is of the same ethnic background.
In Black Matters, Morrison writes, “It is an investigation into the ways in which a nonwhite, African-like (or Africans) presence or persona was constructed in the United States, and the imaginative uses of this fabricated presence” (Morrison 6). The idea of an “African-life presence or persona” can also be applied to Mexican- Americans and various characters from the film A Day Without A Mexican as a result of stereotyping Mexicans.
In the film, Mexicans are portrayed as gangsters who commit crimes and run from the police, hobbyists who take a 1964 Chevrolet and add a hydraulics system to make the car jump and workers who stand on a street corner waiting to be chosen for a manual labor job but being paid less than minimum wage. The stereotypes presented in the elm create the perception that all Mexicans and Mexican-Americans have these characteristics when in reality, they may not have these characteristics. These stereotypes are created from what society perceives Mexicans to be.
Imagination is what fuels these stereotypes and these stereotypes may lead to the realm of racism as they begin to become extreme in their ideology. A culture’s history may also add the list of stereotypes of a Mexican or Mexican- American. Growing up in high school, I went to a predominately Mexican- American and African-American school. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of my rind’s parents were not gardeners; their family members were not illegal immigrants; and none Of them owned low riders that jumped 10 feet into the air. The only stereotype that I may see my friends fit into is the family culture of a Mexican-American family.
Just as in The Moths And Other Short Stories, in particular ‘The Moths,” the granddaughter has built a close bond with the grandmother and the family aspect of a Mexican-American family is represented very well in this short story. Helena Maria Variations, being Latin herself, writes about the aspect of family though a Latin character and his gives her work more credibility because she of the same ethnic background. The film, however, is not directed by a Latin/l_taint and this may take away some credibility from the director because they are not of the same ethnic background; they may not completely know what it is like to be a Mexican.
With stereotypes of Mexicans displayed in the film and in the novel, credibility of stereotypes may depend on the ethnic background of who is making these stereotypes as they would know from personal experience. The characters in the film A Day Without A Mexican and the characters from he novel The Moths And Other Characters are both depicted differently due to a variety of factors such as the ethnic background and gender background.
The writers ethnic background of the film and of the novel play a major factor in the characters because of the way the writers are able to express their personal experiences through these characters. The film is written by four different people, three of whom are Mexican-Americans and the other being a Canadian. The combination of different ethnic backgrounds allow for each of the writers to contribute a different perspective of how they view
Mexicans and Mexican Americans because of their personal experiences; Variations too, is able to illustrate her characters from her personal experiences. As she is the only writer in this novel, she is able to illustrate her own experiences through these female characters, without the reservation of taking into consideration other personal experiences that may come from other writers, as the writers of the film must remember to do. The gender background of the film and of the novel also play a role in the way the characters are depicted.
The gender background of the writers Of the elm consist of two males and two females, all of whom have different opinions in the way they want the characters to be portrayed in the film. For example, a gender role in the film is the way the Mexican nanny takes care of Tracy, making sure that her lunch is packed everyday for school. This gender role of taking care of someone in the family is similar to that of how the granddaughter takes care of the grandmother in the chapter “The Moths,” continuing to wash the grandmother in the shower even after the grandmother has died.
This gender role is also reversed as the grandmother sakes care of the granddaughter when she was young and contracted scarlet fever as a child. The gender backgrounds of the writers of the film and of the novel, contribute to the way genders are portrayed. In conclusion, using techniques in Toni Morrison “Black Matters,” the audience can be influenced to believe a certain way depending on how much exposure they have on a certain ethnic group; the credibility of the stereotypes coming from different ethnic groups; and how the ethnic and portrayed in the film and in the novel.
Morrison allows readers to have a second opinion on different matters as she points out the importance of being able to read the literature that is not as popular because it is that particular literature that may change your views on a particular idea. The credibility of stereotyping may be more reputable if it were coming from the same ethnic group that is being stereotyped because they are able to act as a primary source, maybe having gone through similar experiences. The film and the novel’s characters were portrayed differently in the film as opposed to the novel because of the ethnic and gender background of the writers.
A Day Without A Mexican provides a humorous way of expressing Mexican- Americans in Los Angels while The Moths And Other Stories express a more serious way of expressing Latinist and the more important issues and experiences they go through living in Los Angels.