Those who adapt to their surroundings have a sense of self acceptance of where they’re from and where they are now. However, this is not always the case for the individuals we read about in the four autobiographies. As the different individuals reminisced about their past, we were able to identify key elements in the story that showed us how these different individuals were able to adapt to survive in their environments.
In these autobiographies, we were able to get a glimpse of the different childhood lives these authors experienced. In “The Struggle to be an All-American Girl” by Elizabeth Wong, she talks about how she never really accepted her own Chinese culture and how she tried to fit in more with her Americanized society. She even felt like her language was the reason that she was embarrassed because it didn’t sound as pleasant as French or as gentle as the American South. When people spoke Chinese, to her it was lewd and obscene. She was then able to survive in her environment by having “cultural divorce” but in the end when she wasn’t one of them anymore, she ended up regretting how she left her own culture.
“The Talk” by Gary Soto focused on how him and his friend knew that they would end up looking ugly when they grew up. They accepted this statement and found comfort in watching a girl on their street read a book from their lawn. They would dream about how they would hold her hand and walk up and down the street and how they would be out of their loneliness. Afterwards, they would then conversate about their future wives and the lives they would have. This was one of the ways they were able to adapt with their ugly bodies because it gave them the feeling that later on in life, it won’t matter if they were ugly or not. In the end, they were still depressed because of their looks but Gary would just say that they were in big trouble.
Cynthia in “The Best Gift of My Life” from But I’ll Be Back Again by Cynthia Rylant was very similar to Esperanza from The House on Mango Street. Both individuals had the longing for a beautiful home and better things than what they had. When the main character...