Compare Contrast Final


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Compare Contrast Final

  1. 1. Jun Yamada IB English A2 SL 15/10/09 Compare and Contrast Essay Sandra Cisneros’s vignette ‘My Name’ and Nellie Wong’s autobiographical poem ‘How a Girl Got Her Chinese Name’ are both about two young girls growing up in the United States, who are struggling to find their own identities. The two authors of both pieces of literature use quite a negative tone and from time to time switches from a childish voice to an adult voice throughout both of the stories. Also literary devices such as imagery, repetition and metaphors were used in order to emphasize the different kinds of discrimination or struggle both women or characters had to face. Although both characters struggle to find their own identities and their place in the societies they’re living in, the characters, Esperanza and Nellie Wong have different opinions and views on the situation they’re facing. In Sandra Cisneros’s vignette ‘My Name’, Esperanza, the narrator and main character is a Mexican-American girl, who encounters discrimination from others at school because of her ethnicity and the meaning of her name. She dislikes her own name because in Spanish, Esperanza, means ‘sadness’ and at school the other kids discriminate her for her Spanish name and says that her name sounds ‘funny’. Esperanza inherited the name from her late grandmother who was a strong independent Mexican woman who was described as a strong ‘horse woman’. Although Esperanza the narrator is facing discrimination and has a lot of negative connotations of her name, she is with no doubt remains strong and firm even though she wishes to change her
  2. 2. name. In Nellie Wong’s autobiographical poem, ‘How a Girl Got Her Chinese Name’, the autobiographical poem shares her personal experiences as a child while being caught between two cultures and having to constantly change her name in order to fit into the society that she had to live in. The two different societies that had two different cultures that she was caught in, her own ethnic Chinese culture and the American culture, forced her to have an English name, Nellie, to use while she was at school and a Chinese name, Lai Oy, while she was at home and at Chinese school. Unlike Esperanza in the vignette ‘My Name’ who had much more negative and strong opinion on her name, Wong had a more neutral opinion towards the different names that she had to use, assuming that she was still a young child since she had only had received a traditional Chinese name and didn’t really understand the situations she was facing. Also, in the poem, Nellie’s Chinese name ‘Lai Oy’ it ironically meant lost pocket. In Sandra Cisneros vignette ‘My Name’, the vignette was written with a childish and also an adult voice while writing the vignette. Cisneros uses an adult voice while writing and reflecting on Esperanza’s experience on how she came upon receiving her name. The vignette starts with Cisneros using the adult voice, explaining briefly what her name meant in Spanish, the history of her name and how she inherited the name Esperanza from her late Mexican grandmother. The vignette slowly ends with a child like voice emphasizing how Esperanza was jealous of her sister being called with her nickname, Nenny, rather than her real one, Magdelena, and how she wishes to one day change her name into something else other then Esperanza. Similar to Sandra Cisnero’s vignette, in Nellie Wong’s autobiographical poem ‘How a Girl Got Her Chinese Name’, instead of using one voice at one part of the story, Wong constantly switches back and forth between the child and adult voices. The constant change of
  3. 3. the voice in the poem helps Wong to explain and share her personal experiences as a Chinese girl growing up in the United States. Literary devices such as metaphors, comparisons, and different kinds of imagery were used in the vignette ‘My Name’ to help portray and really emphasize Esperanza’s dislike of her own name. For example, the sight imagery is used in the vignette, describing her name to be muddy. Also Cisneros uses sound imagery comparing her name to the songs that her father listens to on Sunday mornings, describing the songs to sound ‘like sobbing’. Unlike Cisneros’s vignette ‘My Name’, Nellie Wong uses literary devices that include repetition, alliteration, simile, rhetorical question, some imagery, and irony. One significant literary device that is used throughout the autobiographical poem is repetition, Nellie Wong’s Chinese names were constantly repeated in many parts of the poem. Another significant literary device in the poem was irony in Wong’s Chinese name ‘Lai Oy’, it not only meant beautiful, but also it meant ‘lost pocket’. Nellie Wong’s autobiographical poem definitely has more rich and diverse with literary devices than Sandra Cisneros’s vignette. Despite facing discriminations and having to deal with the different cultures that they weren’t familiar with since they were living in the United States and not in their home respective countries, Esperanza and Nellie Wong both remain strong and steady. The two stories uses different literary devices such as repetition and metaphor to really express and emphasize the different attitudes and opinions on how the characters had and felt about their names and also on the everyday challenges of growing up in a different country. Although Esperanza dislikes her name more than the Wong, both pieces of literature are about how two girls struggle to find their own identities in a different society, despite having to constantly face different kinds of discrimination.