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
In the 1960’s, the United States went through a period of clarity and diversity in thought, analysis and action for people from Mexico or those who practiced the Mexican culture. Issues of deep resonance and problems both Mexican and American communities faced were brought to light through different platforms that include multiple socio-political mobilizations, art, and music all throughout the country (Cockcroft, 1993). This later ensued into battles of cultural reclamation and self-determination that combined into a national consciousness called the Chicano Movement. The Chicano Art Movement represents the attempts made by Mexican-American artists in establishing a unique artistic identity in the United States. Most of the Chicanos belonged
During 1942-1964 many Mexican immigrants were “given” the “opportunity” to enter the United States in order to labor and help the United States economic industry. For many immigrants the bordering country was seen as an exceptional place that offered great opportunities but at the same time many family difficulties. The Bracero Program during the 20th century for many Mexicans was seen as an exceptional deal that offered immigrants and infinite amount of opportunities to succeed; however, in Ejemplar y sin igual we realize that the Bracero Program in reality was not the “exceptional program” everyone thought. In Ejemplar y sin igual, Elizabeth Rosas mentions that “an entire generation of children experienced uniquely difficult childhoods because
In her novel Borderlands, Gloria Anzaldua explores the nuances and complications that come with being a member of the Mexican-American community. Her physical home is the border between Mexico and the United States, but she acknowledges that the “psychological borderlands, the sexual borderlands and the spiritual borderlands are not particular to the Southwest” (Anzaldua 19). “In fact,” she continues, “the Borderlands are physically present wherever two or more cultures edge each other…”(Anzaldua 19). Such is the focus of her text, the often uncomfortable meeting space between mainstream white culture in the United States and the indigenous culture of Mexico. The clashing of these two civilizations is personified in the mestizas, people born of both the United States and Mexico, of which Anzaldua is one.
Over the years, immigrants have influenced many aspects of American society and has had a vital role in shaping the United States to what it is today. According to the US Census Bureau, an agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System responsible for producing data about the American people and economy, “non-Hispanic white population in the U.S. declined from 85 percent in 1965 to 62.2 percent in 2014, and the forecast is for the percentage of non-Hispanic whites to fall to 43.6 percent in 2060” (qtd. in Walsh). Despite the rise of immigrants and the profound impact they have had on society, many immigrants face perpetual discrimination; this idea has appeared many times throughout Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Bean Trees. Taking place during the 1970s, the main character, Taylor, moves from Kentucky to Arizona; along the way, she meets Esperanza and Estevan, illegal immigrants from Guatemala. As she gets to know them better, she notices they are forced to live a monotonous, arduous life which implies that immigrants face prejudice from Americans who claim to be accepting.
However, the majority population in Southwestern cities remain disenfranchised and exploited due to America's ongoing cultural wars. Anyway, Chicano art speaks of the liberation of Chicanos from their political predicament of mistaken identity. Moreover, artists’ efforts have helped shape history's false accusations in mainstream media as well as in official documents such as land grants, the census, and military service records to gain Chicanos’ right for a proper identity in American culture. In the 1960's and 1970's, “Chicano” was mostly associated with political activism with an identity and attitude that was important in historical and cultural ties with Mexico while unifying diverse elements in the Chicano people. During this time, Chicano identity was affected by nativism, or neo-indigenism, self-determination, nationalism, and activism, and its effects were left in high schools, colleges, factories, and
eMaria-Gloria Contrada Introduction to Literature Professor Obuch 9 October 2014 Paper I Often when first-generation immigrants come to America, they make little effort to assimilate into American culture and do their utmost to retain their customs and languages. In contrast, many second-generation immigrants find it necessary to discard the culture that had been preserved in the home for biological descent does not ensure feelings of cultural identity.
Within each book, it questions the message of “culture and gender” (Louelí, “An Interpretive Assessment of Chicano Literature and Criticism”). Clearly, positive figures influenced how the Chicano community acted then and now. Rudolfo Anaya and other Chicano writers
The film prejudice and pride, revealed the struggle of Mexican Americans in the 1960s-1970s. In the film it showed Mexican Americans, frustration by the President discrimination and poverty. In this film I learned about the movement that led to the Chicano identity. This movement sparked, when the farm workers in the fields of California, marched on Sacramento for equal pay and humane working conditions. This march was led by César Chavez and Dolores Huerta.
In “Se Habla Espanol,” Tanya Barrientos elaborates on her personal experience growing up in the United States. In the first couple decades of her life, Barrientos distanced herself from her cultural roots fearing that she would be judge and belittle. It was essential for Barrientos to fit in with the American society. Barrientos formats the short story where she is speaking from firsthand experience.
The Story of the Vargas Family “Rosa Vargas’ kids are too many and too much. It’s not her fault, you know, except she is their mother and only one against so many” (Cisneros 29). In the novel The House on Mango Street, the author, Sandra Cisneros, touches on the many negative consequences of a single, impoverished mother raising an overwhelming amount of children. Poverty, discrimination, parental and neighborly responsibility, and respect are all issues and social forces that act upon the family; their presence or lack thereof cause several grisly occurrences to take place. Poverty was almost like a curse given to Rosa Vargas by her husband, who “left without even leaving a dollar for bologna or a note explaining how come” (29).
The American Dream differs from person to person. Every dream consists of striving towards success for a better future. In The Tortilla Curtain, T.C Boyle delves into what the American Dream is to the middle class American family, the Mossbacher’s, and to the illegal immigrant family, the Rincon’s. Throughout the story, it becomes apparent that that the ability for the poverty-stricken Rincon family to achieve their dream is unrealistic. The American Dream is presented to be close to unobtainable to those who need it the most through the use of the coyote, the Arroyo Blanco community, and Cándido’s luck.
From the start, it is clear that T.C. Boyle’s Tortilla Curtain aims to shed a light on the topic of Mexican immigrants in the United States. However, by having both a Mexican and an American woman share similar violent experiences with men, Boyle also places an emphasis on the less pronounced theme of sexual violence and discrimination against women, even in polar opposite realities. Early on, an invisible bond begins to form between the two main female characters, America, a recent Mexican immigrant and mother to be, and Kyra a successful white businessman. And while they never actually meet one another, as they endure and recover from their own personal problematic experiences with certain men, they are affected immensely by these events. America tries her best balance her new life of being an illegal, living in the ravine of Topanga Canyon with Candido, finding work and preparing for her baby to come.