Drama Reading: Los Vendidos
This week's reading combines both the elements of realistic and nonrealistic drama. Los Vendidos tackles the stereotyping of Mexican-Americans and although it was first performed in 1967, the prejudices that it addresses are still very prevalent in The United States today. Here we are almost five decades later and still these prejudices dominant our daily discourse and the politics of our nation and that is a sad reality. The play does contain stereotyped images not as a promotion of those stereotypes, but rather to cause people to think more deeply about the consequences of such ignorance. It also contains some profanity, but it is important that as readers of literature we understand that it is not placed within this play just to get a laugh or to "hollywoodize" it for the shock effect- it has true purpose that no other word could capture. Keep that in mind and be mature in your handling of any discussions that involve the stereotypes of Mexican Americans and/or language. 1. What are some realistic and nonrealistic elements presented in the play? Why does the playwright include them and/or combine the two kinds of elements? What is the effect? 2. Explore the stereotyping that characterizes the "models" that Honest Sancho offers for sale. At whom is the satire directed--the four "models," or the people who stereotype others? What is the implication of these men being presented as if they are machines? 3. Describe the character of Miss Jimenez. Do you find that she is treated sympathetically by the play? 4. How effective is the surprise ending? 5. How would one's race and background affect his or her reaction to the actions within this play? Give an example of two types of people and how and why they may react to it.