Gangster of love draft - Lee 1 Tom Lee Professor Leong...

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Lee 1 Tom Lee Professor Leong Asian American Study R2A 25 October 2010 In the story The Gangster of Love , Raquel Rivera, nicknamed Rocky, passes her days with little idea of what to do with her life and has a weak sense of identity. Moved from the Philippines to the United States with her mother, Rocky struggled between the two cultures. She can neither completely adopts the American culture nor retains all of her Filipino background. As a result, she is left with an ambiguous identity that has no clear cut between the two. Rocky also does not know what to do with her life and future. Her band, The Gangster of Love, made her life a constant rotation of trying to earn enough money to keep the band going, working with the band, and partying with drugs and alcohol. Imposed with these two problems, Rocky feels most comfortable to associate with those who experience the same problems. In the novel The Gangster of Love , written by Jessica Hagedorn, the main character Rocky feels most connected to those who are like her, those who have ambiguous identities or lack clear senses about what to do in life. The author demonstrates this idea through Rocky’s relationship with the following characters: Keiko, Uncle Marlon, and Voltaire. Throughout the story, Rocky is constantly shifting her identity. When she and Elvis are about to leave her uncle’s house and head to New York, Marlon observes that Rocky is “reinventing herself moment to moment, day by day” (87). In essence, the narrator is not settled to have a certain individuality. Consequently, it is difficult for her to define herself in a clear cut fashion. As to regarding herself sexually, Rocky also has no one, clear identity. For instance, she says she “was a withered nun trapped in a young girl’s nubile body” (28) when she is in bed with
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Lee 2 Elvis. However, when Elvis brings “more beautiful or interesting” women home, Rocky declares herself to be “the diva of Manila” (105) and “the Blessed Whore Mary of divine suffering” (105). This reveals two things about Rocky. First, the contradictions within the lines imply that Rocky is unable to define herself clearly. The narrator describes that she is physically “nubile”, or capable of physical intimacy, but that mentally she is “a withered nun”, one who is unwilling to be engaged in such behavior. Having such a disagreement in mind means Rocky cannot see herself easily. Rocky also uses the term “Blessed Whore Mary” to describes herself. Using “Mary”, the holy mother of Jesus, in the name of a “whore" gives a sense of irony. The author uses the contradiction between someone who is pure and holy and someone who is licentious to indirectly show Rocky’s trouble of finding who she in multiple personalities. Secondly, she defines herself depending on the various situations. When Rocky finds sex to be “too much trouble” and “too penetrating” (28), she identifies herself as “a withered nun” (28). The author
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Gangster of love draft - Lee 1 Tom Lee Professor Leong...

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