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Aguilar, Genesis C.

II-6, AB/BSE Literature


Dream Within A Dream: A Glimpse Of Carlos Bulosans American Dream
in America is in the Heart
How often do you dream or asire! "#at do you dream of! "#y do eole struggle to
a$t uon t#eir dreams! Is it fear of failure, inse$urity in t#eir a%ilities or $#al& it u to
wis#ful t#in&ing t#at #olds t#em %a$&! I #a'e #eard t#at t#e first ingredient of su$$ess is
to dream a great dream. And I #a'e read of many su$$essful dreamers t#at failed
numerous times %efore t#ey e(erien$ed su$$ess. Howe'er, t#e differen$e is t#at t#e
o%stru$tions was not going to end t#eir dreams %ut rat#er moti'ate t#em to dream %igger.
Carlos Bulosan)s *Ameri$a Is in t#e Heart+ is one of t#e few no'els t#at dei$ts t#e
migrant wor&ers) dreams and struggles in t#e ,nited States during t#e -./0s t#roug# t#e
-.10s, a time w#en signs li&e 23ogs and 4iliinos not allowed2 were $ommon. In t#is
ersonal literature, #e argued t#at desite of t#e suffering and a%uses #e e(erien$ed,
Ameri$a still romises a %etter life in w#i$# e'eryone must in'est t#eir time and energy.
5#is outloo& lea'es us wit# a feeling of #oe for t#e future instead of %itter defeat.
*Ameri$a Is in t#e Heart+, sometimes su%titled A 6ersonal History, is a -.16 semi-
auto%iogra#i$al no'el written %y 4iliino Ameri$an,Carlos Bulosan. Carlos Samayan
Bulosan was an Englis#-language 4iliino no'elist and oet w#o sent most of #is life in
t#e ,nited States. 5#oug# t#ere is some $ontro'ersy surrounding t#e a$$ura$y of e'ents
re$orded wit#in Ameri$a Is in t#e Heart. He is $ele%rated for gi'ing a ost-$olonial, Asian
immigrant erse$ti'e to t#e la%or mo'ement in Ameri$a and for telling t#e e(erien$e of
4iliinos wor&ing in t#e ,.S.
He %egins #is auto%iogra#i$al no'el %y des$ri%ing #is early life in t#e 6#iliines,
des$ri%ing to t#e reader w#at #is life was li&e as a $#ild. He li'es on t#e farm wit# #is
fat#er w#ile #is mot#er li'es in t#e $ity of Banalonan wit# #is %rot#er and little sister.
Carlos is t#e fourt# oldest son in t#e family and #e #as ne'er met some of #is %rot#ers
sin$e t#ey dearted from t#e 'illage %efore #e was %orn. 5#e #oe of t#e family is %rot#er
7a$ario w#o is attending #ig# s$#ool in a neig#%oring 'illage. 5#ey awn t#eir land and
sell w#at t#ey $an to ay #is e(enses. "#en #e graduates #e will %e a%le to #el t#em
and t#eir li'es will %e %etter. Howe'er, it doesn)t wor& out t#at way after 7a$ario loses
t#e tea$#ing 8o%. Carlos returns to Binalonan to say good-%ye to #is %rot#er and family.
He #as made u #is mind to go to 7anila and t#en on to Ameri$a. His %rot#er tells #im to
ne'er return to Binalonan as #e, Lu$iano, did. Lu$iano feels traed and doesn)t want
Carlos to #a'e t#e same &ind of life. Carlos says #is good-%yes, %oards a train to 7anila
and sails for Ameri$a. "#en Carlos and 7ar$elo arri'e in t#e ,nited States t#ings don)t
go t#e way t#ey #ad lanned. 5#ey lose t#eir money in a $ard game, $an)t ay t#e #otel
%ill and are sold to wor& in a fis# $annery in Alas&a. 4iliino easants fa$e t#e same &ind
of e(loitation in t#e ,nited States t#at t#ey fa$ed in t#e 6#iliines. At t#e $annery,
o%'iously, t#ere is t#e same &ind of e(loitation. "#en 6aulo agrees to marry t#e Indian
girl and stay in Alas&a for se'en years, #e says #e #as ro%lems in Los Angeles. He must
#a'e %een in some &ind of trou%le in L.A. to want to stay at t#e $annery. Ameri$a is not
as Carlos t#oug#t. He is still young and nai'e, %ut no%ody really tells #im t#at, as
indi$ated %y 7a$ario)s friend)s rea$tion to Carlos saying #e t#oug#t #e would %uy a #ouse
in Los Angles. Carlos does not understand #is %rot#er)s rea$tion and does not understand
w#y t#ey $an)t tal& as t#ey used to. Carlos does not understand t#e dis$rimination t#ey
fa$e as 4iliino immigrants. Carlos is %edridden wit# #is disease. "#ile #e is %edridden,
#e writes oetry, some of w#i$# is u%lis#ed. 6eole from t#e literary world %egin to
$onta$t #im. He does not tell t#em of #is illness. He %e$omes friends wit# Ali$e 9dell
w#o %rings #im %oo&s so #e $an read and e(and #is #ori:ons. Carlos) illness e'entually
re;uires #ositali:ation and #e is mo'ed %y am%ulan$e to t#e $ounty #osital. Ali$e still
$omes to 'isit until s#e relo$ates to t#e East Coast for a 8o%. Carlos undergoes surgery,
w#i$# is su$$essful. <ow totally remo'ed from t#e la%or mo'ement, Carlos is a art of
t#e literary world. Carlos %egins to #a'e su$$ess in #is writing $areer, %eing u%lis#ed in
7anila. He also starts to %e aid for #is writing. "#en #e attends a dinner for a 4iliino
edu$ator, oli$e interrut and sear$# all attendees. Carlos is outraged %y t#e in$ident and
on$e again %e$omes #ysi$ally 'iolent w#en $onfronted wit# dis$rimination. His %rot#er
#as to ta&e a gun away from #im. He goes on a drin&ing %inge and is found %y Gan:o in
San 4ran$is$o. Gan:o tells #im #e must write %e$ause it is t#e %est way #e $an #el t#eir
eole. He #as to su$$eed in telling t#eir story. He is t#eir only #oe. Carlos finally
#as #is first %oo& u%lis#ed. He finds #is %rot#er Amado to s#ow it to #im. 5#ey #a'e an
in$ident wit# one of t#e girls wit# Amado. "it#in a few days, %ot# of Carlos)s %rot#ers
enlist in t#e armed for$es. Amado lea'es for t#e <a'y and 7a$ario lea'es for t#e Army.
Carlos is now alone. He feels as if #is family #as ended. If t#ey e'er meet again, it will
not %e t#e same. 5#e day after 7a$ario lea'es, Carlos dearts for 6ortland. His fait# in
Ameri$a is restored and #e &nows t#at it $an ne'er %e destroyed. Carlos feels t#at #e
%elongs.
5#e no'el is written in t#e first erson in $lear language t#at is easy to understand and
;ui$& and easy to read. 5#ere is no 8argon of any &ind and 'ery few foreign terms used.
"#en t#ey are used, t#ey are defined 'ery well so t#e reader does not wonder w#at t#e
term means. 5#e reader 'iews $an e'eryt#ing t#roug# Carlos) eyes and sees e'eryt#ing
from #is erse$ti'e. 5#is allows t#e reader to understand Carlos %etter and to understand
w#at #e e(erien$ed. =a$ism, immigration or emigration, o'erty and tradition are t#e
t#emes of t#e no'el. It re'eals $onditions in t#e rural 6#iliines are #ars# for t#e oor.
5#ere is #ards#i, e(loitation and su%sisten$e e(isten$e. 5#e oor $#ildren #a'e no
$#ild#ood %e$ause t#ey are wor&ing in t#e fields or in t#e mar&et or #ome wit# t#e
arents at an early age. 5#e %oys lea'e t#eir arents) #ome in t#eir early teens to find
wor& and a %etter life, trying to es$ae t#e #ars# and #oeless en'ironment. 5#eir
families &now and e(e$t t#is. Carlos) mot#er tells #im se'eral times t#at #e $an go and
t#at t#ey are oor. 5#ey go from menial 8o% to menial 8o% trying to ma&e out a li'ing. 5#e
arents $an)t gi'e t#em a %etter life in a su%sisten$e farming en'ironment and t#e arents
and $#ildren &now t#is.
5#roug# Ameri$a Is in t#e Heart, Bulosan was a%le to s#are a uni;ue erse$ti'e on
Asian life in t#e ,nited States in general, %ut arti$ularly t#at of 4iliino-Ameri$ans
during t#e first #alf of t#e >0t# $entury. It is a %oo& t#at en$ourages eole of all ra$es
and genders to onder and imro'e t#eir relations#is wit# one anot#er. After reading t#e
no'el, i reali:ed t#e $onne$tion of my life and #istory and all t#e lessons I #a'e learned.
And %e$ause of t#at, as a future tea$#er, I must do my %est to #el ot#ers in my
$ommunity? to edu$ate t#em and and #el t#em gain anot#er erse$ti'e or 'iew a%out
t#e world we li'e in today. I want to s#ow my future students somet#ing t#at te(t%oo&s in
elementary s$#ool and #ig# s$#ool fail to mention. I want to #el t#em %e$ome more
$ulturally aware %e$ause identity is found in #eritage and w#ere you $ame from. I also
want to #el t#em to see t#at w#ere t#ey are today $ould not %e ossi%le wit#out t#e
struggles for e;uality and 8usti$e. It is imortant t#at students now ta&e t#is resonsi%ility,
so t#at we $an $reate a new #istory for oursel'es and s#ae a %etter future for t#e ne(t
generations. And most of all, t#ey must %elie'e in t#eir dreams and t#eir a%ility to
a$$omlis# t#em. @ee t#eir dreams in front of t#em and ne'er forget, t#at if you $an
dream it, you $an do itA

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