Background[ edit ] In the essay, "The myth of the Latin Woman: I Just met a girl named Maria" author Judith Ortiz Cofer expresses her view of the stereotypes that she and other women of Latin and Hispanic descent have had to endure. She begins the story by relating an experience where a drunk pub patron started singing "Maria",from "Westside Story' to her, while she is on a bus trip to London from Oxford. As a Latin American woman, Cofer shares her opinion regarding the stereotypes that have occurred throughout her life. Cofer reflects on her childhood and recognizes differences in the way people interact with her and other non-latino females. She relates her cultural experience to like being on an island When Cofer is confronted with a career day at school and is faced with the challenge of deciding what is appropriate to wear.

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This essay can be a great way to get your students talking about stereotypes and assumptions. The following discussion is intended for high school, but can be adapted to other ages as well.

Questions about Content Based on the title, what did you expect this essay to be about? How did this title frame the way you approached this essay?

How does The Myth of the Latin Woman begin? Why do you think the author starts with this anecdote? What does this story represent? How does it connect to the title of the essay? Why was the author distressed as a child over the prospect of what to wear for career day? Why was this a challenge for her? How do we encode our identities using our clothing?

What messages do we try to convey through our clothing? How does this change when you are dealing with stereotypes and assumptions people make about you? How does the author explain the differences between life in Puerto Rico and on the continental United States? How does she connect these to the experiences of Latina women? What was the purpose of the story about the tuxedoed man in the fancy hotel?

Why did the author present this story? Why combine this with other stories of people accosting her to sing songs about Latina women? What does a single incident like this mean to a person?

What do repeated incidents like this mean to a person? Are you tired of reading about these experiences? Can you imagine to what it would be like to experience these personally, and consistently? Is it tiring? After having completed the essay, what do you think was the main message?

How would you summarize this essay in a sentence?

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The Myth of the Latin Woman Discussion Questions






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