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Portela 1

Gabriela Portela Dr. Davis English 121 29 September 2010 Essay 2 How does one cope with a poor self-image derived from social rejection? Social rejection is one of the key factors in leading to one’s poor self-image. In grade school I experienced social rejection at its finest. I, much to my chagrin, became noticeably the shortest girl when all the other girls hit their growth spurts. The girls in my grade made sure I knew I was short. When I would walk through the cafeteria, the girls would point and laugh at me; I was mortified at first. I, with tears streaming down my face, went to the shoe store with my mom and bought some high-top shoes to make me look taller. As the bullying consisted, I began to accept that I was short, but I was too embarrassed to confront the bullies. This embarrassment continued until the seventh grade; at that point, I was happy with who I was. I was short, and proud of it! This cycle of selfacceptance I experienced, is uncannily represented by the three authors: Grealy, Anzaldua, and Baldwin. Grealy was miserable with the person she was by letting the “bullies” get to her. Anzaldua was at the stage of partial self-acceptance; she let the cruel American society damper the woman she truly wanted to be and didn’t confront it. Baldwin was proud of who he was and wasn’t afraid to rebel against the hindering society. Grealy, Anzaldua, and Baldwin, quite clearly, display three key stages of gaining self-acceptance in a dismissive environment.

Although Anzaldua accepted the fact that she didn’t relate to the societal norm. winter became Grealy’s favorite season. She. She lived a life fighting a battle she was never able to overcome due to her disfigured face that took over her positive self-image. However. She states her strong relation with her native tongue when she said. therefore. The results of the many stares. “I am my language” (136). Passionate about her roots.Portela 2 Lucy Grealy spent her whole life trying to overcome the ugly image others put on her. I simply ignored it” (43). Having to deal with high school boys and watching her sisters’ friends get dressed up to go out reminded Grealy of her loneliness. and quite sadly. and mean comments led to a low self-esteem that Grealy could not shake. she was stuck in the first stage of overcoming social rejection. she didn’t let her Chicano heritage shine. Grealy acknowledges. It gave her an excuse to hide half her face. was never able to gain a positive self-image. Anzaldua wants very much to be accepted by others. as I had found my hightop shoes. Grealy was unable to even look at herself without it. She. Anzaldua declares. and rather than try to understand this. found her “safety blanket” in the form of a scarf. These negative confrontations prevented her from ever accepting the person she was. Grealy could not accept the person she was. dirty looks. let society become her “mirror”. “My own image was the image of a stranger. “I remember being caught speaking Spanish at . she still struggled with being proud of who she was. As Grealy became a teenager her insecurity only got worse. and therefore. as I was in my youth. was obsessed with what others thought of her. she cannot take pride in her native language until other people accept the way she speaks. Society extinguished her Chicano upbringings by rejecting her language.

and all men. In reflection Anzaldua realized something about herself. the larger. each author takes a different approach. Unlike Anzaldua. Baldwin was able to over come his struggle. not inconceivably. she thinks of a solution to be able to communicate with others. “[Language] is the most vivid and crucial key to identity: It reveals the private identity: and connects one with.”(110). “What joins all languages. we’ve kept ours” (140). she chooses to speak to others in English rather than Spanish but still keeps true to her language and pride in her culture in other aspects of her life. Anzaldua is more open about her situation. Eventually Anzaldua embraces the difference and shows pride in her culture. Baldwin did not find it acceptable for white people to look down on the way black people speak. public. Unlike Anzaldua and Baldwin. Handling his obstacle differently from Grealy and Anzaldua. Although it is not what she wishes. It is her way to socialize without being judged. I. as a little girl. is the necessity to confront life. James Baldwin from the beginning took much pride in his culture although he was an outsider. to outwit death: The price for this is the acceptance. She has no interest in trying to help herself emotionally and tries her best to hide her looks. in order.or divorces one from. Grealy is completely closed off to herself and others. Baldwin never looked down on himself because of his language. In dealing with their cross. and achievement. “When other races have given up their tongue. He successfully overcame social rejection while maintaining a high self-image. and Baldwin boasts.or communal identity. of one’s temporal identity” (110).Portela 3 recess . However. Anzaldua copes.that was good for three licks on my knuckles with a sharp ruler” (132). Rather than closing herself to other people. . and used this pride to stand up for what he believed in. Grealy hides. He believes.

and ended with Baldwin’s proud acceptance. I started with Grealy’s helpless struggle. Anzaldua. Baldwin from the start overcomes it by ignoring what people think and taking pride in return. As Grealy covers up her obstacle (face). and Baldwin all had to deal with emotional and identity issues. then Grealy did not prevail. and Anzaldua removes it by switching languages. Not having a negative view on oneself is key in preventing one not being an outsider. Grealy. but if it is true that life is about overcoming obstacles. .Portela 4 went through the spectrum of all three approaches.

Nancy R Comley et al. Comley et al.Martins. Comley et al. Grealy.Martins. Nancy R. “How To Tame a Wild Tongue.109-112. “If Black English Isn’t a Language.131-141.Gloria. .NY: Bedford/St.Lucy.Martins.Portela 5 Work Cited Anzaldua. Nancy R.James. 2010.NY: Bedford/St.NY: Bedford/St. 2010. Then Tell Me.33-44. “Mirrors.” Fields of Reading 9th ed. What Is?”Fields of Reading 9th ed. Baldwin.2010.”Fields of Reading 9th ed.