The first chapter of Oksana Marafioti’s memoir _American Gypsy_is titled »American Cheese« and relates the circumstances under which she and her family emigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States. The first person narrator humorously describes the stereotypes that the United States, the Soviet Union, Roma, and non-Roma all have of one another. The chapter depicts the concurrent excitement and apprehension that the fifteen-year-old girl feels as she prepares to emigrate. American cheese, the thinly sliced processed orange cheese that comes individually wrapped in plastic, symbolizes the perceptions that the narrator has of her approaching luxurious new life. In preparation, she dons a new haircut, outfit, and make-up that try to emulate the styles she has observed through popular television media. These changes do not prepare her for the life she ends up leading, which turns out to be less glamorous and easy than she had imagined.
Source of text sample
Marafioti, Oksana. 2012. American Gypsy. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, pp. 3–10