Major Jenson

In: English and Literature

Submitted By samtaylorx3
Words 929
Pages 4
In the play, Major Barbara, by George Bernard Shaw, a Character named Andrew Undershaft tells his daughter Barbara, “You have learnt something. That always at first feels as if you had lost something.” Undershaft uses this quote in a reference to an event in Barbara’s life that has shattered one of her illusions about life. Two of the stories and authors featured in The Norton Reader, Aria by Richard Rodriguez and Always Living in Spanish by Marjorie Agosín seem to directly fit this quote because of their sense of losing their identity, culture and heritage when they first came to the United States. By learning the new “American” ways of life and becoming fluent in the English language both authors felt as if they were losing a sense of the person they were, because so much of their identity had been lost. In the story Aria, Rodriguez immediately notices the differences between English and his beloved Spanish language. Speaking English in the classroom wasn’t vital to Rodriguez feeling as if he had lost his identity until English became the primary language in his household because of the poor progress that he was making in school. Once Rodriguez had experienced speaking only English in his home, his whole world was changed. Not only had the new English language at first brought the feeling of losing his identity, but now it had brought about the feeling of losing his entire family’s identity. Also, the family was no longer as close-knit as they used to be because not all of the family members were able to speak English as well as the others. In the story, Always Living in Spanish by Marjorie Agosín, Agosín’s first impression of the United States is her experience in the classroom. Agosín expresses the fact that she doesn’t recognize anything around her, “Not even the sky has the same constellations, the trees and the fauna the same names or sounds, or the…...

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