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“The Money” by Junot Diaz–from Patterns for College Writing

Even though Diaz uses slang throughout “The Money”, he also uses words like, “diaspora” (1) and phrases like “Raskolnikov glances”(8). What does this tell you about him and how he sees his audience? Question lifted from Patterns, page 116.

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16 Comments

  1. Shabana Rahman

    By using the word ”diaspora” he is trying to tell the audience about his and his family’s background. That is, he wants the audience to know where he is from, the Domincan Republic and where he and his family are are at now, New Jersey. I also believe he uses the word diaspora to let the audience know about the responsibilities that families have towards loved ones they leave behind in other countries. For many years, my husband while living in the US, sent money to his parents in Afghanistan. He tells me he was doing this so that his parents continue to feel connected to his life as well as don’t get over whelmed by the distance separating them from their son.
    I believe Mr. Diaz uses the expression “Raskolnikov glances” to his audience about the state of his neighborhood. That is, letting us know that his neighborhood, because people were only making basic living, was the kind of place you had to always be alert. No one and no one’s things were safe. To be able to protect yourself you had to know how to read people including expressions and the looks they gave you. You had to be able to interpret what a quick guilty type glance means.

  2. Huiming Yan

    Junot Diaz used phase such as “Raskolnikov glances” and “diaspora” shows that the author may has a very unique background. I think the phase “Raskolnikov glances” has a rather high level of creativity, It does not really tells what type of glances it is in my opinion, but has made the reader entered the author’s word. A immigrant from a foreign country should have something belong to his culture and background. Such phase is interesting and made the essay fun to read.

  3. Amy W

    Diaz writes as if he were speaking to an equal. While he writes of a classic experience of an easily stereotyped group of people, he is actually breaking the assumption that people who experience these sorts of things and come from these sorts of backgrounds are uneducated or dull. In a way, his writing serves as proof to people like him, like the Dominican community, that they did not have to fit within the predisposed role they seemed to have in the U.S. Furthermore, his use of slang also declares that one can retain more than just a single trait or type of background; one can still have genuine experiences of say, being poor, and also being well-learned.

  4. Zak C.

    The use of slang and more intellectual dialect tells us the author is educated but also aware of his roots, as well as his audience. It seems to me that he is speaking to an audience that he expects to relate to him, potentially persons of the same culture, and background. I feel that there is an underlying message in the text, that he wants the reader to understand that he is not still in that situation and it is possible to leave those hardships. He doesn’t say this directly but i think it is implied by his vocabulary use, with out taking away from the point or flow of the story itself.

  5. jiaheng fang

    Diaz was an immigrants from Dominican republics, from a immigrants background, slang and vocabulary, are taught through school, and communicating with others. and he uses what he learned to affix in the stories, “The Money”. Diaz uses slang throughout his stories, but also uses word like “diaspora”, and “Raskolnikov glances” shows that he is writing style is different. From my perspective, his writing can be read, and interpret by everyone, as it’s not difficult to understand what Diaz is trying to emphasize. Diaz grew up in a poor neighborhood, he uses slang to emphasize what he learned living under these condition, and also shows he is educated by using vocabulary.

  6. Jenella

    People who come from a particular nation, but who now live in many different parts of the world are sometimes referred to as the diaspora, as Diaz communicates to his readers that his family is during such a hardships as diaspora and their living condition is full of stealing and frauding. Which Diaz realized that his family could be easily targeted by all the people around them even the whole country as a recent immigrant with all their savings. And the money in the “forbidden trash” is being referred to the money that Diaz’s mom saving up to send to Diaz’s grandparents in Santo Domingo. It means that the “forbidden trash” is very important to his mom and it reveals to how mad and disappointed his mom is after the money had been stolen which ” She cursed the neighborhood, she cursed the country, she cursed my father and of course she cursed us kids.”
    Diaz solved “the case of the stupid morons” by stealing the money back from his friend’s apartment by unlatching the window from the apartment restroom, and as they left to the park, Diaz pretended to have forgotten something in his house and left, and went straight inside the apartment looked for his stolen savings. Which Diaz described his own experiences by using the first person perspective and narration to give us a visual image of what is really happening, and after he got the money back from his friends he criticized how human’s moral indifference and the ruthless society. By connecting his family background with the whole country, Diaz reveals the cruelly facts of the country and poor immigrant family, and show his audience of how they fight against the dark side and protect themselves in such a situation.

  7. Michelle Harker-Davis

    Even though Junot grew up in an immigrant neighborhood, he used the his wit , self preservation, and ingenuity to take care of a robbery that happened to his family. He started by saying “All Dominicans I knew in those days sent money home”. Evidently being Dominican meant you had money saved up and stashed somewhere in the house. paragraph 4 stated that “Everybody got hit; no matter who you were, eventually it would be your turn”, and it was. His mom working irregularly and father always losing his jobs, and raising five children, were still able to provide for his moms parents back in Santo Domingo.

    He was talking to his friends about the robbery “when the nictitating membrane obscuring the world suddenly lifts?[para 8] and “I could see the way they were looked at each other, the Raskolnikov glances” He had a moment of clarity about his “friends”. His description is one of a person who was well read, and one who was able to use this analogy to describe what happened to him with the book Crime and punishment.
    The author used his life’s experience,intellect, humor, street smarts and slang to engage his audience with this short essay.

  8. Brian S

    Diaz was raised with four siblings and he was raised in a lower-class neighborhood. Compared to other Hispanics, Diaz lived in a household with nothing to spend. The words “diaspora” (1) and “Raskolnikov glances”(8) are words an ordinary person would not understand. These are words I had to search in the dictionary to understand what was the meaning behind those words. Raskolnikov is the protagonist who committed murders in Dostoevsky’s novel in “Crime and Punishment”. Diaz uses “Raskolnikov glances”(8) to show us that he has knowledge to compare what has happened in the book “Crime and Punishment” to his friends who nefariously stole remittances and valuables from his house. Also, he read “Encyclopedia Brown and the Three Investigators” (10) when he was a young boy. He proves to us that he reads mystery fiction and it applied to his life educationally and presently when he tried to take his valuables back. His audience can be anybody. Poor people will connect with Diaz because he lived in a sketchy neighborhood. “Everybody got hit; no matter who you were, eventually it would be your turn.” (4) Also, It particularly resounds with Dominicans because of cultural heritage. Based on the short story, his parents immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic since they were sending remittances to Santo Domingo.

  9. Rosaleen J

    Diaz’s use of the word “diaspora” and the phrase “Raskolnikov glances” show his audience that while he came from a poor neighborhood and family, he is still very educated. He is obviously familiar with the novel Crime and Punishment and most people aren’t. He didn’t allow his environment growing up to bring him down.

  10. serge bustillos

    Diaz explains how Dominicans and Hispanics have struggled for many years; being that he is Dominican he has experienced many hardships and I believe he is credible because he witnessed it all first hand. Throughout this predicament with the “burglary” he makes me feel engaged like he’s one of my friends telling me a story. Diaz makes me feel this way because as a young Hispanic reader I can relate to his type of slang, it sets the tone for the hole story and brings a sense of humor but at the same time seriousness to it. Hispanics and Dominicans are very helpful people and it’s very common for families living in America to send money to their relatives back home; many families barley make ends meet because they help so much and the little money they do get, they save it for the next money order. It’s sad that Diaz felt like he couldn’t go to the authority to retrieve their savings for his grandparents. He had no hope that the authority could help so he went on his own and took care of it personally. He was betrayed by the people he called his friends and he felt like he couldn’t turn to the people who claim they are there to help the police. One of the worst feelings is knowing you can’t turn to anyone and it sucks when you feel like your parents don’t appreciate when you do the right thing.

  11. Pablo Neri

    In Junot Diaz’s essay “The Money”, the author uses slang in the passage but also has put some more scholar phrases like “Diaspora” and “Raskolnikov glances”. This is a method I believe he uses on how he views his audience. The author wants to connect to the author by using slang and more complicated words so that whoever is reading it knows and understand what his point of the essay is. Junot Diaz doesn’t also want to appeal to an audience, he also shows them about Diaz past about even though as a poor Domincan Foreigner, he is very well educated. For example, when he said “Now, it wasn’t like I could publicy denounce these dolts….broad daylight wriggled my skinny ass in.” He was showing that even in a young age he would know tactics just from out of nowhere (yes I know the idea how he got it is from the next paragraph). Which I believe is fascinating because he actually connected to the background of Dominican Republicans, which it said “The Dominican Population also has a slightly higher poverty rate compared to all Hispanics; however it can also claim a higher level of education.” Viewing this also as a low income Hispanic, I can relate to his background and what knowledge and experience meant to us and not letting poverty stand in the way.

    • Great job, Pablo. I wonder the effect of using a more active verb in place of “has put” at the beginning of your response.

  12. Abraham Barroso

    What the author is telling his audience is that he never forgot what he came from; coming from a Dominican household it was hard for financially. Although having struggles from burglaries, parents losing jobs from left to right and sending money to his grandparents, he never stops trying to get an education and his family managed to save some money. When he used slang in his story, he wanted to show that he didn’t get used “proper” language when he was telling his story. The message that he wanted to send that no matter what background, religion or ethnicity you are you have to keep working hard in order to achieve your own goals in life and try not to let people get in your way of that goal.

  13. Edwin C.

    Even though Diaz uses slang throughout “The Money” he also uses words like “diaspora” and phrases like “Raskolnikov glances” it tells us that he shows that even if he came from a broken family he’s educated at the same time. In my opinion I believe that the way he sees his audience’s is that he wants to include slang to make a connection with the struggle that he’s coming from. When he talks about the burglary it makes the audience be in his shoes by the way he uses words and also makes us see his progressive with the fact that he’s educated. Diaz grew up around financial problems which embraces how he went through lots of difficulties in life where he wants the readers to know his background from having to something where as even though he faced hardships he elevated his life by getting his education.

  14. Adela Sanchez

    It tells his audience, that even if he uses slang language,Simply because that’s what his cultural background was/is. Even he has attended Rutgers University, Not just any university but a very well known one. Even-though, this doesn’t necessarily is the case; so he has made up terms to describe in short way the individuals spoken off in the story/doc. In correlation to the short story, he mainly focuses and talks about the background of Dominican people living in the U.S/ himself and working hard labor his father/ mother, and being laid off most of the time; sending back home money to his grandparents. The main domain is what it was like to struggle and about his education being immigrants from they home country and the circumstances, hardships, and burglaries in their community didn’t hold him back or diviate him from achiving his goal for a better life for his family.

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