Cassidy Carter 3/19/13 Engl 1302- Prof. Evans Style Analysis Firoozeh Dumas’ essay, “The F-Word,” addresses the very relatable struggle every person with an ethnic name faces in the American culture. Her prime example being herself, Dumas humorously and realistically depicts the trauma a person endures from constantly having to educate people about your name. She also uses the names of her siblings to provide a comparison of the names’ meaning in Persian versus their American mispronunciations. Dumas’ seamless use of analogies, word choice and quotations assists in her goal of making the reader understand and sympathize with her frustration.
The analogy used throughout “The F-Word” that assists Dumas with explaining how people’s refusal to say her name correctly, involves, interestingly enough, spices. Paralleling different linguistic sounds with uncommon spices, Dums jokingly suggests that common sounds like ‘cinnamon and sumac. ‘ Dumas later returns to her analogy toward the end of her piece while referencing a particularly annoying parent at her children’s school who refers to Dumas as “F-Word,” the title of the piece non-coincidentally.
This parent eventually is transferred to another school where Dumas hopes she “might have to make some room in her spice cabinet. ” This analogy connects and ends the story while making it humorous to the reader and more relatable. Dumas’ word choice also relates to adding humor to the piece as she dissects the names of her family and how they are abused in American culture. Her explanations of how Farbod became ‘Farthead’ amongst his peers as well as how Farshid became the abhorrent ‘Fartshit,’ not only exposes the silly cruelty of children.
Such instances also express a humorous exasperation with her American peers who refused to even try to pronounce their names. Further in the essay, Dumas regales the reader with a tale of an unfortunate encounter with a hematology technician that she has an appointment with. “Having been called Froozy, Frizzy, Fiorucci and Froozy and just plain ‘Uhhhh.. ‘ I am highly accommodating. I did not however respond to Fritzy because there is not in my name. ” This bit of humor at her own expense makes the piece all the more personable and relatable.
Dumas’ use of quotations as she sarcastically impersonates her offenders also adds humor to her essay. Her references to what she believes are her offenders’ excuses for mispronouncing her name were particularly humorous as they effectively allow the user to understand her point of view. “My name, Firoozeh, chosen by my mother, means ‘Turquoise’ in Persian. In America, it means ‘Unpronounceable’ or ‘I’m Not Going to Talk to You Because I Cannot Possible Learn Your Name and I Just Don’t Want to Have to Ask You Again and Again Because You’ll Think I’m Dumb of You Might Get Upset or Something. “ Dumas’ word choice in choosing to explain the Persian meaning of her name aids in her use of quotations because by giving the correct meaning of the name she further ridicules the people who refuse to use her correct name. “The F-Word” is a witty essay that makes relatable the struggle of having an ethnic name in ‘this land of Joes and Marys. ’ The essay should allow the reader an opportunity to focus on their own name faux pas’ and hopefully make a change in their behavior in the future when dealing with people with names that require a little more spice in their linguistic ‘spice cabinet. ’