Leave Your Name At The Border by Manuel Munoz

Your full February 21, Response Essay Munoz begins and ends his essay on the same regarding the Fresno, California Airport, since he wants to convey to the reader in an interesting way what he wants to say in the rest of the essay. The beginning makes the reader familiar with the main content of the essay, and the ending makes him understand Munoz’s broader analysis of assimilation and acculturation of names and individuals. Both the beginning and the ending of the essay tell that Munoz’s main focus is on the assimilation of names, which is the concept regarding how and why people change their names in order to embrace a new culture. People need to discard their otherness in the other culture through assimilation. They have to adopt Anglicized names in order to have themselves accepted as normal beings. They do not want to be de alla, for which they have to adopt an identity that is different from one they are born with. Hence, Munoz’s main focus is on the need of people to adopt Anglicized names to adapt in a new culture that is superior to their own.
2. Munoz does not state his thesis statement straight away. instead, he starts with an account of a Mexican woman calling a visitor at the airport, and then describes how his cousins and others in the family changed their names in order to get themselves accepted in the English society. Munoz, much later in the essay, talks about how assimilation affects one’s identity, when he says: “It applies to needing to belong, of seeing from the outside and wondering how to get in and then, once inside, realizing there are always those still on the fringe” (Munoz, para.17). In the same paragraph, Munoz states how the corrosive effect of assimilation affects an individual’s cultural identity. He states that assimilation results in one culture displacing the other, and this happens when one is not able to sustain two identities in one being, for which he has to leave one and adopt the other that is useful for him in terms of living and profession. One has to give in to the new culture to feel accepted, or in a broader sense, to escape from ethnic/racial discrimination.
3. Munoz gives lists of names to reinforce his thesis statement. He mentions names of his cousins, his grandfather, and others in his family and friends, to emphasize upon his thesis statement. I found it a little bit distracting, although it was helpful in understanding what he really meant to say. A few examples were really necessary to obtain a clear understanding, but I really found it annoying to go through so many names, so much so that I found myself skipping some lines so as to reach out to the new paragraph. Hence, for me, it was quite annoying to go through so many examples. however, I do feel that it was okay for Munoz to mention examples, since readers always get a better grasp of the concept through examples. Every writer has his own way of explaining things, and Munoz has been able to convey his ideas in a lucid manner.
Works Cited
Munoz, Manuel. Leave Your Name At The Border. The New York Times, 2007. Web. 21 Feb 2013. .