Geraldo No Last Name

by Sandra Cisneros

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In "Geraldo No Last Name," does Geraldo have an identity, or is he just associated with the stereotype of his culture?

Geraldo has an identity, which is accentuated by the fact that he made an impression on Marin. She was drawn to him because he stood out from the rest of the crowd, suggesting that he was not just a stereotype. Marin mentions exact details about him, such as his name, where he worked, his clothes, and that he was "pretty and young." These aspects make him unique and different.

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Marin is drawn to Geraldo and mentions details about his work and his appearance that make it evident that he has a persona. He makes an impression on her, and she does not see him as just one of many. He is different. Marin even commits to accompanying the severely injured young man to the hospital after he is hit by a vehicle in a hit-and-run accident. She spends hours and hours there "for somebody she didn't even know."

The story emphasizes the fact that stereotypes are a construct created by a society that does not care. The story makes it clear that it is not so much that Marin does not care but that the questions and thoughts such as "What does it matter?" are those expressed by a society ruled by carelessness and prejudice. It is much easier to deal with one's negative perceptions of others than to admit and try to understand that such individuals also have feelings, a life, and a history.

Knowing more about others outside their immediate influence, control, or understanding is problematic for such a society. It is much easier to brush off a tragic incident such as the one mentioned in the sketch than to show compassion, since the victim is just one of many and they are "all the same" anyhow.

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