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The Descriptive Elements of Terkel's "Frank Chin"

They did not riot, protest, or make waves. In one of the most powerful sections in the piece, Chin writes, "We don't see that we've described ourselves as a race of Helen Kellers, mute blind and deaf. We're the perfect minority" (119). The Chinese embraced this stereotype as a strategy for white acceptance.

Blacks and Chinese, according to Chin, have accepted the prejudices that whites have toward them. In closing, Chin sets up a powerful view of the new Chinese immigrant: "In Chinese-America, it is the new immigrants threatening our relationship with the whites, not the blacks. They are the unredeemed Chinese Chinese" (120).

This essay achieves great impact by using first person and describing events as part of a story. The essay is one Chinese man's response to a unique set of circumstances in his life. Chin reconciled those circumstances and developed a sense of his authentic self. Chin's growth process unfolds through the narrative structure of the work.

The same power of the personal experience is evident in Martha Serrano's "Chicana." "Chicana" is more expository in form than "Frank Chin." However, Serrano's essay uses an informal style, also. Serrano's choice to be called Chicana is the central theme of her essay. She describes her choice of the term based on her understanding of her indigenous past. Through this work, she shares with the reader how the knowledge of her roots has been transformed in a way that has enriched her present-day life and helped her established a personal cultural identity.

Unlike "Chin," which uses the narrative essay form with many descriptive sections, the structure of Serrano's essay uses an expository framework combined with personal narrative. The substantial historical research Serrano cites establishes the central theme of the essay.

Serrano has not selected Chicana frivolously, but based on her study and belief about her cultural heritage. She explains why...

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