Analysis Of Constructed Stereotypes In Skin English Literature Essay

Having done extended research on the life of the writer, Naomi Iizuka, one can reason that the handiness of written scholarly certification about her life and work is thin. The writer is a recent voice in the universe of the American dramatist ; she attained her MFA grade in Playwriting in 1992, at the age of 27.[ 1 ]Naomi Iizuka ‘s household background sheds an interesting visible radiation on the political relations of a multi cultural society, which is consequently represented in SKIN. Her female parent is an American of Spanish descent and Naomi ‘s male parent a Nipponese banker.

She studied Classics and Literature at Yale University and she received her MFA grade from the University of California San Diego. Naomi Iizuka is portion of the bequest of American authors of the 1990 ‘s who are chiefly looking to compose on experiences of a multiethnic, poly-sexual, multi-class and intergenerational society ( Krasner 2005, p. 549 ) .

Harmonizing to Berson, Naomi Iizuka is fascinated by the subterraneous universes of renegades like the homeless childs in Polaroid Stories or by castawaies like Jones in SKIN or by vagabond characters in Tattoo Girl ( Berson 1998, p.1 ) . Theatre needs to surprises her, such as dramas that are non purely realistic and filled with fabulous elements that allow to reappraise the relationship with world. Naomi ‘s composing manner in the Berson article is described as one that matches a ferocious emotional intense with a drifting lyricality, graphic grunginess and astringent wit ( Berson 1998, p.1 ) .

Iizuka found her inspiration for SKIN in the surrounding of San Diego at the terminal of the 20th century. The environment offers a mix of a desert town, a Navy town and a boundary line town ( Chambers 2002, p. 55 ) . The drama focuses on two supporter characters, Jones and Mary. Jones is a immature adult male who works in a mill and Mary is Jones ‘s unpatriotic lover and the female parent of their kid. They urgently attempt to do sense of and seek to exceed the suffocating environment in which they live.

The changeless resistance between the isolation of Mary and Jones and the crowded suburban conurbation, reflect a tragic scene. Being confronted with their limited chances and the inhibiting effects urban life and poorness, Jones and Mary find safety in drugs, intoxicant, force and sex. Through different scenes the hopeless state of affairs is vividly described.

The drama is really strong in reassigning an mute, non expressed but overpowering sense that the dwellers of the town are surrounded and controlled. They feel laden, populating in a totalitarian societal system which exerts silencing, control and disaffection. SKIN is a tragic drama and ends with Jones knifing Mary to decease.

Skin focuses to a big extent on the figure of Jones who is enduring as an person in this totalitarian society. Since Jones is of assorted descent it is possible to analyse the drama based on corporate racial stereotypes.

Borderlands and Stereotypes

When reading the drama SKIN, the reader is bound by the bing stereotypes related to race, ethnicity and gender. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the stereotypes which correlate with white American authorization, with people from Chicano cultural background and with troublesome interracial dealingss.

Although the drama makes no clear indicants of location, there are several indicants that the scene is geographically set near the U.S. – Mexican boundary line. Gloria Anzaldua describes in her book Borderlands, La Frontera the impression of a border district as a vague and undetermined topographic point where los atravesados like, among other denominations, the bastard, the mulato or the half-blooded live ( Anzaldua 2007, p. 25 ) . SKIN is a modern-day drama which portrays the construct of white high quality utilizing the stereotype, the corporate image, of American political and cultural domination in a crowded suburban environment. The white American swayer is presented though the presence of Police hatchet mans and military Navy work forces and they comply with the image of the oppressor, specifically suppressing Jones.

Anzaldua describes how the Border Patrol fell behind edifices, like a local McDonalds, and act like huntsmans with powerful dark vision devices ( Anzaldua 2007 p.33-34 ) . This is reflected in the 2nd scene of the drama SKIN, where the Police are described as “ sly and unseeable in their black and white machine ” ( Iizuka 2000, p. 164 ) .

Jones is the chief supporter in the narrative, and he is most likely a half-breed. He does non hold a Latino name, his full name is Sean Jones and he has a Social Security figure which makes him legal U.S. occupant ( Iizuka 2000, p. 165 ) . Jones most likely has a white American female parent ; he refers to her decease in scene 20 eight “ when she died [ aˆ¦ ] she looked like a white, fictile doll. ” ( Iizuka 2000, p. 194 )

Since Jones is of assorted race he is confronted with an internal discord of multiple personalities, doing him insecure an indecisive ( Anzaldua 2007, p.99-100 ) . He is non portion of the dominant white American civilization and he does non to the full belong to the Latino society. Jones hard place can be proved by different scenes. He is, in multiple scenes, harassed by the Police, treated sharply by the Navy work forces and he is explicitly subdued in his relation with the Manager. Angel nevertheless, does non accept Jones as a full Latino member. In scene 28 Angel is really expressed, he shouts to Jones “ adult male, shut up. you do n’t cognize me [ aˆ¦ ] you do n’t see me every twenty-four hours. you do n’t cognize how I live my life so shut the screw up. ” ( Iizuka 2000, p. 194 ) .

SKIN introduces stereotypes that can be linked to the theory of the Mexican philosopher Jose Vasconcelos. His doctrine in resistance to the racial pureness policy that white America patterns, his theory is about inclusivity, a mixture of races ( Anzaldua 2007, p. 99 ) . This is hinted in the individual of Mary ‘s miss. Whereas in every grownup scene there is a ferocious metaphorical usage of the resistance between black and white, where black is largely related to silence, shutting of the eyes, the enormousness and invisibleness of the desert at dark and really of import the colourss used to depict the Police auto. It is Mary ‘s miss who is able to project a motley universe. A good illustration is available in scene 14 when Mary ‘s miss speaks: “ when I close my eyes, I see ruddy and purple an orange and yellow and blue. I see so many colourss traveling and sparkly like visible radiations at dark. ” ( Iizuka 2000, p. 183 ) .

Iizuka uses many images to foreground that the person is controlled, isolated and alienated from the societal environment. Although Jones and Mary are legal U.S. occupants, they are non portrayed as legitimate dwellers. They are invariably being controlled by an authorization like the Police or the Navy. Whenever the Police are introduced into the scenes they are represented as if they were invariably nearby and waiting. Scene 19 provides a good illustration: “ and so the Police slide out of the dark like they have been everlastingly at that place, unseeable, waiting for a mark. ” ( Iizuka 2000, p.187 ) .

Skin Color and the Construction of Stereotypes

The drama contains several stereotypes related to racial favoritism and white domination. Jones is being racially fixated by the white authorization. It is already in the 2nd scene that, without any obvious ground, the constabulary is bespeaking to see some signifier of designation from Jones. The constabulary is really provocative towards Jones. The same attack and the more detailed building of the negative features related to Mexican stereotyping can be experienced in scene 10. In this scene, the director has a general image of Jones and his people which comes down to this: “ [ aˆ¦ ] that ‘s the thing with you people, you think you can sleep together around, do babes [ aˆ¦ ] , you seem to believe taxpayers like myself are traveling to bail you out and back up you and yours everlastingly. ” ( Iizuka 2000, p.179 ) .

Mentioning to Bhabha ‘s construct of ambivalency of the stereotype of the other, otherness is at one time an object of derision and at one time an object of desire ( Bhabha 1994, p. 67 ) . There is merely one case in the drama where this of import facet of ambivalency in stereotyped individuality can be found. In scene eleven the cholo, which is a denomination for a Mexican individual from assorted descent, is crystallising the component of desire. “ [ aˆ¦ ] and the tegument on his dorsum is brown [ aˆ¦ ] he is a fine-looking immature God, and the crowd moves up near to him [ aˆ¦ ] hungry for something they do non cognize [ aˆ¦ ] ” ( Iizuka 2000, p. 181 ) this amplification portrays the beauty of the dark tegument and it emphasizes Bhabha ‘s impression of ambivalency. More specifically, it is the dark colour of the tegument that at one time activates fastness and phantasy, command and pleasance, and therefore plays a contradictory function in the ideological building of distinctness ( Bhabha 1994, p. 66-78 ) .

The essay written by Bhabha, The Other Question, high spots two other of import facets of racial distinction by skin colour. The first one is related to the economic domination of white people and the visibleness of tegument as reenforcing the important acknowledgment of difference ( Bhabha 1994, p.79 ) . Richness and whiteness are reciprocally described by the poorness of Jones. In scene nine Jones describes his inability to do tonss of money: “ it ‘s difficult, mary. I do n’t cognize how people make it. I do n’t cognize the secret. here it ‘s non much of anything. ” ( Iizuka 2000, p. 179 ) . The image of Jones ‘s low hierarchal place is strengthened by the subsequent scene 10 where he performs a basic occupation feeding a machine and the Manager is oversing him.

It is outstanding in this drama that the dominant, white American, group is nameless. Iizuka decided non to give names to the people in a hierarchal superior place. They are called Police Man, Navy Man, Manager, Man or Employee. The reader gets the feeling that these ‘unnamed ‘ people can all be categorized in one dominant group with the same oppressive Acts of the Apostless towards Jones. This uniqueness allows to bridge the racial treatment to the definition of ethnicity minus one as proposed in the essay who is Ethnic? by Werner Sollors. Meaning that ethnicity is cosmopolitan and ethnicity minus one excludes the dominant group. In the drama SKIN, the dominant group is evidently white and affluent America. Throughout the drama all the white histrions behave likewise, they are oppressive and aggressive towards Jones and therefore confirm their white dominant individuality ( Sollors 1995, p. 22 ) .

Scene thirty two “ I wanted to skin off my tegument, and fold it up, and put it in a box. I wanted to vanish ” ( Iizuka 2000, p.198 ) . The manner Jones narrates about tegument, he confirms the importance of whiteness of tegument in the American society. This emphasizes that the visibleness of tegument reinforces the acknowledgment of difference and hence Acts of the Apostless as a form of favoritism ( Bhabha 1994, p.79 ) . Furthermore Bhabha ‘s essay explains that the stereotypes attributed with skin colour remain a mark of cultural and political lower status ( Bhabha 1994, p.80 ) . This logical thinking is ubiquitous in the drama.

In SKIN, Naomi Iizuka is able to reflect the length of service or fastness facet of stereotypes. Since authorities has institutionalized its Civilizing Mission during the colonial period, the racial stereotyped discourse has become damaging and prejudiced ( Bhabha 1994, p. 83 ) . By implementing schemes of hierarchization and marginalisation, colonial societies could be managed. What Bhabha is seting frontward in the essay, is that cognition on the cultural group and the stereotyped generalisation make the consideration of discriminatory and autocratic signifiers of political control appropriate. The same construct can be found in SKIN. It are the Police and the Navy Men that are ever present to supply surveillance and subject through violent and oppressive torment, and therefore exert political control over the colored and fringy community. Extra imagination to stress American, and white, high quality is portrayed in scene 20 six when Jones is looking to purchase a arm in the Gun Mart shop. The Employee describes the gun as follow: “ [ aˆ¦ ] United States government made. superior workmanship. feel. see. [ aˆ¦ ] ” or the description of the knife “ [ aˆ¦ ] made in Germany. superior workmanship. cuts through anything. [ aˆ¦ ] ” ( Iizuka 2000, p.192 ) .


SKIN, proves to be a complex and superimposed drama in footings of prevalent stereotypes. A superficial reading at first would do the reader conclude that Jones is a Latino life in a bordertown. However, when analysing the different intimations in the drama, the reader comes to the impression that Jones is a mulato. Based on Gloria Anzaldua ‘s analysis and representation of the mulato life near the U.S. – Mexican international boundary line, Jones ‘s is isolated between two clashing civilizations which confuse his individuality. SKIN emphasizes the harsh and hopeless life in the border district.

Naomi Iizuka exposes the reader to the oppressive and dominant attack of white America towards Jones. Through a polarized version of racial stereotyping, the drama allows to use the analytical constructs of ambivalency and fastness from Bhabha ‘s essay The Other Question.

Naomi Iizuka confirms through the character of Jones, who is isolated and populating in a controlled environment, that racial biass and finding by the terminal of the 1890ss remained unchangeable. However by presenting Mary ‘s girl, who is able to see a coloured universe alternatively of a purely black and white one, Naomi undertakings her hope that future coevalss can withdraw from the dominant, white and racial pure American civilization and make an inclusive multi-cultural society.