way, the narrator does not want to acknowledge how he feels about the whole experience and fears what will happen if he does. He may have just as much intellect to go away to college when his time comes, but he is afraid to go. I think a person's personality can really determine what kind of person that you become. Perhaps family or school's support are also important when it comes to education. However, Teo was the one holding him back from going out his situation. Richard Rodriguez has a different recount of his first sexual experience. In actuality he was not part of a sex act, but feeling excitement from seeing how his mother and father looked at each other. Rodriguez was seven years old at a public swimming pool and notes that “In that second I sensed that my mother and father had a relationship I knew nothing about. A nervous excitement encircled my stomach as I saw my mother’s eyes follow my father’s figure curving in the water.” When he was about to join his father in the water his
mother called out to him in Spanish to put a towel over his shoulders. He knew she did not want to say why in public, but it was because of his skin color. Rodriguez developed a shame of his complexion in the years to come. He did not feel comfortable in his own skin which led to him believing he was also sexually inferior. I felt very sad that he thought of himself as less worthy of a relationship because of his complexion. He heard his mother and aunts talking about using lemon juice to lessen the darkness of skin. He even tried to use a razor when he was around eleven years old to see if it would remove a shade from his skin color. He remains fixated on his complexion throughout his life and becomes separate from his physical body. Outdoor activities such as riding a bicycle shirtless or playing sports became obsolete for Rodriguez. He admired the lives of Mexican gardeners and construction workers although did not want to admit it. His masculinity was being deprived of and he focused more on his education. In the essay Rodriguez writes, “At such times I suspected that education was making me effeminate. The odd thing, however, was that I did not judge my classmates so harshly. Nor did I consider my male teachers in high school effeminate. It was only myself I judged against some shadowy, mythical Mexican laborer - dark like me, yet very different.” It is hard for Rodriguez to find a place in the world because he is not comfortable with himself. His own body is a foreign entity to his mind. He takes what the women in his life say to be true and worries what he will be labeled as if he does not act like a man should. Mexican culture plays an important role in how he thinks a man should behave. They say the three F’s are feo, fuerte, and formal and are the crucial basis of a man’s character. While not literally ugly, feo is meant to be tough and manly as opposed to soft as his father had teased him about. Fuerte is for strong character and being dependable. The final one is
formal, meaning responsible and steady. He goes into an enlightening description of how
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- Spring '14