Trapped By Society: I Only Came To Use The Phone

1138 words - 5 pages

Do you ever feel trapped when you are in a place that you have never been before? Isolation criticizes society since it does not let everyone be equal or have the same rights. Isolation can completely change a person, and it is usually for the worst. Society “acts” like they try to prevent isolation, but in reality they isolate people for certain reasons, then those people get judged for being “different.” Upon closer inspection it is human nature to deny equal rights because people that do not act, dress, or look the same are labeled as strange, and unfortunately, many times are not accepted by the majority of society. This gives authors a way to shine a light on society’s flaws.
In the beginning of “I Only Came to Use the Phone,” Maria sets herself up to be trapped after her car breaks down, and she gets on the bus. “Maria looked over her shoulder and saw that the bus was full of women of uncertain ages and varying conditions who were sleeping in blankets just like hers.” (72) this should foreshadow that something is not right to Maria, but she just goes with it. Maria is the only women that talks on the bus, she is not acting like the other women at all. “She was less certain when she saw several women in uniform who received them at the door of the bus, pulled the blankets over their heads to keep them dry, and lined them up single file, directing them not by speaking but with rhythmic, peremptory clapping.” (73) Maria realizes once again that she is out of place and that she should get out of here as soon as possible. The first line of the poem Exile, “The night we fled the country,” (1) this family is taking a risk as they are leaving their country illegally. The family is setting themselves up to be trapped if they get in trouble, and will have to stay in their country forever while being watched so they do not escape again. “You told me we were going to the beach, hurried me to get dressed along with the others, while posted at a window you looked out.” (1) The girl knows something is going on. The fact that her Papi is looking out the window nonstop also tells the girl that this is not just the normal trip to the beach, something else is going on. The characters are making decisions that could end up having a good ending or a bad ending.
Following the beginning of the stories, we realize that the main characters are trapped; they are somewhere that they do not want to be. In the short story Maria is taken to a Sanatorium, even though she only needs to use the phone. Maria goes to every person she sees and asks “where the telephone was.” (74) After Maria tells the supervisor multiple times “I only came to use the phone”. (74) the supervisor replies “If you’re good you can call anybody you want. But not now, tomorrow.” (75) Maria realizes that she does not belong here. She now understands why all the women act on the bus the way they do; they are treated like little kids. In the poem, Papi and his family are also in a place they do...

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