In this paper I would like to discuss the article David and His 26 Roommates, written by Debbie Nathan. In particular, it is necessary to focus on the stylistic peculiarities of this text, and the strategies the author employs to appeal to the reader. This text tells the story of a Mexican immigrant, who lives in New York and tries to help his family that he left in Mexico.
One of the things that immediately attract attention is the author’s ability to describe the inner world of this person in the most authentic manner. Debbie Nathan provides David with an opportunity to voice his feelings and misgivings about his current life and work in the United States as well as his future. This is why Debbie Nathan uses direct quotations so often throughout the text.
This article aims to show that the main goal of immigrants from Latin America is to become accepted by the community which does not seem to notice them. For example, we can remember David’s most cherished dream: he says “Being up so high, a loneliness that actually feels good. And the americanos noticing me” (Nathan, 1).
The writer accurately describes the difficulties, faced by these people, for instance, poor language proficiency, insanitary living conditions, minimal wages, and so forth. The reader inevitably feels that this text has been written by someone who genuinely feels compassion for these people. It should be noted that Debbie Nathan frequently use Spanish words to emphasize Mexican background of these people. We can mention such words and phrases as “americanos”, “aventura”, “ritmo”, “judio”, “casa” etc.
The use of these foreign words is one of the techniques, convincing the reader that this text has been written from Latin American perspective. Apart from that, Debbie Nathan accurately depicts the first sensations, experienced by people, who come to the US from abroad. They feel as if they were in an entirely different universe because they do not understand “the language, the street signs, the money, anything” (Nathan, 3).
However, one should not assume that this text produces only a depressive impression upon the reader. It contains many humorous and slightly ironic passages. One has to pay special attention to the use of following stylistic devices:
1) hyperbole – “pre-World War 1 apartment building”
2) metaphors – “decorates dishes with artful streaks of sauce and careful radish rosettes”;
3) irony “welcome to mi casa” . In part, these stylistic devices aim to show that immigrants from Latin America still manage to maintain optimism and sense of humor. Even despite these almost insurmountable difficulties they believe that their life will change for the better.
Another property which appeals to me is that the writer does not try to force the reader into conclusions. Debbie Nathan’s narrative does not overshadow the voices of David, Diana, and their friends. The author allows the reader to form their opinion about this story. Again, the major peculiarity of this article is that it examines the problems of Mexican immigrants from inside, and not from outside as it is often done. This is this text will be both interesting and informative for a wide audience.
Nathan Debbie. “David and His 26 Roommates”. New York Magazine. 2006
Mi casa (Spanish) – my castle. It is an allusion to the expression my home is my castle. The thing is that a room, inhabited by 27 people can hardly be called a castle