Themes In Mi Familia

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The immigrants entering the United States throughout its history have always had a profound effect on American culture. However, the identity of immigrant groups has been fundamentally challenged and shaped as they attempt to integrate into U.S. society. The influx of Mexicans into the United States has become a controversial political issue that necessitates a comprehensive understanding of their cultural themes and sense of identity. The film Mi Familia (or My Family) covers the journey and experiences of one Mexican-American (or “Chicano”) family from Mexico as they start a new life in the United States. Throughout the course of the film, the same essential conflicts and themes that epitomize Chicano identity in other works of literature…show more content…
In Mi Familia, the mother of the family is deported without good cause by the U.S. government based on nothing more than blind American prejudice, signifying the racial tension that exists between white and Latino communities and to which Chicanos must adapt as they establish livelihoods in America. This theme is also presented symbolically throughout the film by the white owl, which appears when Chu Cho’s mother crosses the river and almost drowns herself and her son, and also just before he is killed by the police. The owl represents the chokehold that fate has on Chu Cho’s life from the time he was born—unfortunately symbolizing the burden of poverty, domestic abuse, crime, or narcotic involvement that some in the Chicano community bring with them from Mexico into the United States. As remarked by the narrator, “Chu Cho was living on borrowed time”—his life fully belongs to the unfortunate destiny that harasses many Chicano communities within the United States (Mi Familia). At the end of the film, the father remarks to his son Jimmy: ‘the corn is strong but so are the weeds,” metaphorically referring to the failure of two of his sons—Chu Cho and Jimmy—to succeed in life because of how they succumbed to lives of crime and failed to live up to his expectations. Similarly, in the movie El Norte one of the Chicano waiters who works in the restaurant with Enrique undergoes discrimination from the other Latino works due to what they consider his over-assimilation into U.S. culture (El
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