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Comparison of Gary Soto’s and Deborah Tannen’s Views on Stereotypes and Self Being

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“Everyone is unique and each experience is different,” quoted by Gloria Steinem, a journalist. A person’s mindset changes frequently as they grow up, whether it ties to cultural traditions, or a social environment anybody can express themselves differently. The writer Gary Soto writes about his doubtful future in “Like Mexicans” and compares his culture to his wife’s Japanese background. In “Gender in the Classroom” Deborah Tannen discusses male-female differences in the classroom. The two perspectives on Soto’s and Tannen’s experience gives a common stereotypical view on how gender disposition, conversational style, and cultural background, can lead to a false assumption of a person’s self being.

The males aren’t likely to give heartwarming advice to his friends. In “Like Mexicans” Gary father and brother barely had any significant say in his pursuit of marriage. Although Gary never had a strong relationship with those two his attitudes began to change when he was able to meet his best friend Scott and there they would talk about “school and albums.” Scott shares advice for Gary marriage “she’s too good for you, so you better not.” That behavior was similar when speaking to his mother and grandmother about his marriage. “Well, sure if you want to marry her trapped in the poor boy’s mind distracting him from math problems to cultural geography” from Gary’s mother and a quite similar response from Gary grandmother “A bad advice and good advice.” All in all, a female to female conversation is more relatable and comfortable for females to share stories and views alike.

Depending on the gender, behaviors can change based on their principles and belief. From the start of “Like Mexicans” Soto was uncertain if he will marry the right girl with the same ethnicity and economic status as himself. It wasn’t until experiencing his wife lifestyle that Gary would eventually take it upon himself to protect his love life from his family/friend’s responses and demanding request. In comparison, “Gender in the Classroom” Tannen experiments the ways of male and female voices in the classroom. Unlike “Like Mexicans” Males can be equally measured to a female student. Tannen believes that the males are leaders and not afraid to speak up during class discussions, but when it comes down to personal topics females prefer to talk more than males. This event resembles “Like Mexicans” in which Gary mother and grandmother discussed more personal topics with Gary than his father or brother.

People who have knowledge from personal experience can relate with others more. In “Like Mexicans” Gary grandmother advised Gary to marry someone with the same background as himself. His grandmother conversational style is defined throughout “Like Mexicans” The author expresses the outlook on how he sees marriage shared with traditional family views as well. Gary grandmother take on marriage is constantly reminded. In contrast, “Gender in the Classroom” the author separates the conversation styles of both male and females. Tannen believes males are likely to express themselves during discussions. However, in “Like Mexican” Gary did not have many male friends for him to express his thoughts outside of his best friend Scott. In “Gender in the Classroom” “most women are more comfortable speaking private to a small group they know well.” In short, females are a little more shy, but are more observant in debates and classroom discussions. Even so, in “Like Mexicans” Gary mother and grandmother were defiant and often led the conversation about Gary marriage. The gender role played in these two stories greatly differentiates both conversational style and how they speak to each other.

You shouldn’t be judged by your cultural background. In “Like Mexicans” Gary family did not take the news lightly when he confirmed his love for a Japanese female. Gary family wanted him to marry an “Okie” a Mexican. The pressure led him to doubt himself and question his own doings. Eventually, Gary became different; he understood that race cannot define what you are. In contrast to “Gender in the Classroom” Tannen analyzes the students by splitting them in degree programs with certain ethnicity and genders. “Four foreign male students spoke in class occasionally.” “It was specifically challenging for Japanese women to speak in all female group”, normally the Japanese women are overwhelmed by how talkative the female students were in all female based group. The different ethnicity from multiple backgrounds provided that Tannen judgement was correct. Tannen concluded that the student’s style changes no matter the cultural background of the students.

Deborah Tannen’s, Gender in the Classroom proved little support for her claim. Tannen believes that by experimenting and analyzing surveys of her students she set the notion of how typical students act in the classroom. While, in “Like Mexicans” Soto was able to stand against his family traditions and change the notion of the typical Mexican stereotype. Both writers viewed the same ideology but approach it differently. We can conclude that by the stereotypical view on conversational style, cultural background, and gender disposition it can result in a false assumption of a person’s self being.

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Comparison Of Gary Soto’s And Deborah Tannen’s Views On Stereotypes And Self Being. (2020, October 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from
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