Los Vendidos Essay

1511 words - 6 pages

Luis Valdez wrote “Los Vendidos” in order to address his view of the Mexican culture and in reference to the prejudices that surrounded him. The play defines four versions of Mexican men, shop owner Honest Sancho is trying to sell to a Secretary in Governor Reagan’s political office. The buildup of characters: The Farmworker, Johnny Pachuco, The Revolucionario, and the Mexican-American, symbolizes an evolution of what society deems the “ideal” Mexican-American should be. “Los Vendidos” translates to "The Sold Ones" or "The Sellouts” which is a solid interpretation of Valdez’s opinion on Mexican’s conformity to the American culture. Valdez creates a distinct characterization of all four models, Miss Jimenez, and Honest Sancho with snarky humor and stereotypes in order portray the front of exactly who is running the show in the Used Mexican Lot and Mexican Curio Shop.
The scene opens with Miss Jimenez entering the shop in needs of a Mexican to fill a diversity slot in Governor Reagan’s office. She tells Sancho that her name is Miss JIM-menez, which is considered an Anglo pronunciation. Her insistence that she be called this leads the reader to believe she makes it a point to disassociate herself with her Hispanic heritage. She carries herself in a superior manner that signifies her entitlement to treat Sancho and the Mexican models in a negative way. She continues to list the trait requirements for the person she needs to look “good” in Reagan’s office. Sancho displays each model trying to receive Miss Jimenez’s approval. One important aspect of the play is the adjectives that Ms. Jimenez uses to describe the Mexican that she would like to use as her prototype. Such adjectives are: "suave, debonair, dark, but of course not too dark, sophisticated, respectable, someone with class." (Valdez. 1211) These adjectives could describe any man, but not one that has can fit Miss Jimenez’s image of what would look best for the Governor’s administration. The racist connotation that Miss Jimenez associates with who she thinks would “fit in” society’s box is a definite reflection of the hardships Valdez witnessed in his community. For example, the Zoot Suit Riots that occurred in 1944 was rooted by a reaction by young Mexican-American males against a culture that did not want them to be a part of it. Stuart Cosgrove examines this issue when he states, "In the most obvious ways they had been stripped of their customs, beliefs and language.” (*Vargas 317) These youths were going through an identity crisis because they did not know which culture they could identify with. Miss Jimenez is a character that embodies that repression Valdez explains in “Los Vendidos.”
As the scene progresses, Sancho demonstrates the Farmworker’s capabilities and strong work ethics the scene develops into a political parody. Sancho explains this particular model is designed to go on strike. The Farmworker rebels against society in this scene and Miss Jimenez quickly moves onto the...

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