"Love in L.A." Clash of Culture Theme Analysis Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  920 Words
Date:  2022-08-30

Love in L.A is a short story written by Dagoberto Gilb that is full of irony as well as multiple themes (p.432). It should be noted that the story by Gilb was set in a summer season. The story is written in the third person by the author who does an excellent job in guiding the reader along the storyline. The main characters in this story are Jake and Mariana who depict a contradiction of nature and culture. While Jake is depicted as a flat and stagnant character, Mariana is shown to be an enigma. These characters depict numerous themes particularly the theme of love. However, the depiction of the activities makes themes more complex. One of the major themes depicted in the story, which is the main focus of this essay is the clash of culture. Jake and Mariana portray different character throughout the story which shows differences in culture. Gilb builds on this contradiction to create an exciting story where the reader gets increasingly shocked by the main character. Considering the clashes that took place in the story between the main characters, the clash of culture can be supposed to be an intriguing theme depicted in the story.

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The story Love in L.A begins with Jake, who's driving through a freeway (Gilb 432). Jake becomes erupted by daydreams regarding better possibilities which make him smack the car that was in front of him. At this moment, Jake considers to drive away, but he comes to his senses and stops. Finding the vehicle belonged to a beautiful girl, Jake turns into a smooth talker which he uses to try to con Mariana. It should be noted that the two characters were of different origins with different cultural traditions. With Mariana having a Venezuela origin, she was more straightforward when interacting with Jake. The discussion depicts Mariana as an enigma although the author doesn't dwell much in her hence he gives limited details about her. The author portrays Mariana as a stagnant character since she is an ordinary girl who shows usual suspicious tendencies women have in strange situations. However, Jake is shown to possess a flat character. Through his interaction with Mariana, Jake is depicted as a lazy character and a person who could easily conceited. For example, Jake, "considered giving a real phone number but went against that idea and made one up" (p.434). This shows due to the difference in cultural foundations; the two characters behave differently in the same situation.

Clash of culture is also demonstrated in loneliness and comfort of the two characters. As shown in the story, Jake is lonely which makes him stoop into pathetic situations. Gilb illustrated that "her hand felt so warm and soft he felt like he'd been kissed" (p.433). This depiction shows how Jake was lonely as he seems to crave the human intimacy of love. However, Jake was flirting in a woman she even cared less enough about to lie to. By the author using this illustration, he created a situational irony, which corresponds with the theme of loneliness that every person is looking for love. Mariana too displayed this urge as she seemed a little flattered as well as lonely as demonstrated in the manner in which she smiled and made small talk. However, due to their differences, Mariana felt that she had to relent any offers made by him. It should be noted that Mariana was staying with her father and was even driving a car that was bought by him. The setting shows part of the story's realism. The encounter between Mariana and Jake shows how Jake hopes that he could increase his chances of fulfilling his sexual needs. However, although Mariana is flattered, she doesn't think of their encounter in those lines. In essence, Mariana demonstrates a different type of person to Jake depicting the clash of culture between the two.

Stereotyping has been part of the society for quite a long time. It should be pointed out that stereotyping has a massive impact on how people feel about the environment and the things involved. As noted in the story, Gilb is stereotyping a normal life of typical Mexican American lifestyle. It is possible to identify different gender roles in the story, associations as well as stereotyped characterizations which depict the clash of culture in the society. Gilb describes Jake as a person who was anxious about some aspects of life like owning a car that would impress any woman (p.433). This typical life is common in the American West, especially among young men. In this regard, through self-love as well as narcissism, Gilb shows how the different cultures behave differently. The disagreement that seems to hurt to Jake demonstrates a clash of culture regarding preferences and behavior.


From the analysis, it is evident that Gilb demonstrates a clash of culture as illustrated by Jake and Mariana. The story showed Jake struggling with reality while also trying to fake this reality to achieve his goal with Mariana. His lies show typical man's approach in the American society. Although Jake expected Mariana to be free with a date out as typical American girls, she declined. Being of Venezuela origin, the story shows how different the two characters were. In this regard, the discussion illustrates how cultural differences impact on the relationship between the two. Jake was the opposite of Mariana in the story mainly due to the cultural clash.

Works Cited

Gilb, Dagoberto. Love in L.A. Anthology of Short Fiction, p.432-434.

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"Love in L.A." Clash of Culture Theme Analysis Essay. (2022, Aug 30). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/love-in-la-clash-of-culture-theme-analysis-essay

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