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America is in the Heart is a biographical book by Carlos Bulosan as Filipino poet. Bulosan begins by giving a description of the life he had in Philippines during his nascent stages in life. At this juncture, Bulosan describes the life he lived with his father in the farm while his mother lived in the Banalonian city with his siblings (a brother and a little sister). Like any other Filipino family, a member of the family had to leave the family so as to go work, either out of compulsion or out of the need to supplement the family’s income. Normally, the latter applied to Bulosan’s family. In this case, it is Bulosan’s mother, brother and sister who had to separate from the family.
Carlos Bulosan is the fourth of these siblings, and has never seen some of these siblings, given his departure which took place, which he was still in embryo. The hope of Bulosan’s family was Macario, Bulosan’s brother. Macario attended his high school education in a neighboring village. In this effect, Bulosan’s parents do not stop at pawning their land and selling their belongings so as to enable Macario continue with his education. The notion behind the dedication is that upon finishing schooling and graduating, Macario will be able to support his family and siblings. Nevertheless, due to the conspiracy of fate, this standpoint does not pull through.
This is due to the class and racial inequality that widely characterize the US so that the Filipinos who are relegated to the US’ periphery in America’s West Coast. Despite the hard manual work that the Filipinos are subjected to, they are still treated as subhuman criminals and monkeys. The Filipinos are structurally and institutionally locked out of all developmental and legal sectors, much to the merriment of contractors, and the Chinese and Japanese owners of brothels and bars who exploit these Filipinos. It is this state of affairs that leave the Filipinos subject to terror of diseases, poverty and unemployment at the hands of the white community.
Having worked in the aforementioned demoralizing position, Bulosan comes to realize that America was also a land that was dotted with men of noble character and goodwill as he becomes the representative of the Filipino’s Workers’ Movement. This leaves Bulosan struck by the way others could be so parochially heartless while others so merciful and supportive in the same land, America. Among other things, Bulosan tackles this paradox in this book as the main theme.
The author’s consideration and awareness of audience; The author’s consideration and awareness of the presence and importance of the audience is clearly seen in the manner in which he gives a clear cut definition of the true America by including therein, people from all walks of life. To Bulosan, the nameless foreigner, the lynched black body, the illiterate immigrant, the homeless refugee and the hungry boy are all important people who give America its own identity. Thus, does not only acknowledge the fact that his audience is variegated, but also recons with the universality of his audience by maintaining that “All people, from the first Adam to the last Filipino, make up America.”
The Stance Taken and Supporting Evidence Used. The aforementioned stance assumed by Bulosan is that all the capitalist white Americans registered or born in the US as citizens are Americans. Bulosan uses the evidence of the fact that the emergence, independence, growth, success and liberty of American are feats that were achieved collectively as different races and social classes. On the other hand, there were rich capital and industrial entrepreneurs who would rather exploit the weak Filipinos in America’s West Coast.
The Essay’s Structure. The book America is in the Heart is organized into four parts. Parts 1 and 2 of the book comprises 12 chapters each, while parts 3 and 4, 11 chapters. This brings about a striking sense of organization and perfect symmetry in the book.
The Essay’s style and use of imagery, metaphor, and other rhetorical devices; and the author’s unique approach to that Bulosan in this book America is in the Heart is well skilled in the use of language is well underscored by the wide range of stylistic devices he uses to convey his message and theme. For instance, the phrase “America is in the Heart” is a metaphor as it talks of a vast nation being in the heart- a naturally inconsistent logic. It is until symbolism is used to interpret the phrase that the rightful (albeit covert) meaning is arrived at. The use of imagery (using vivid descriptions and details to create a sensational or sensory experience for the audience) is also used but ubiquitously in the book. A case in point is the harrowing tale of exploitation that Bulosan’s family and other Filipinos undergo at the hands of the Chinese contractors, Japanese entrepreneurs and white capitalists.
The Issue, Question, or Problem Is the Author Addressing. The question being addressed by the author is a complex one intertwined by concepts such as identity, nationality, social values and justice. Bulosan carefully weaves these through his experiment and that of the Filipino to maintain that those who stand against for social justice, equity in attitude and in deed are the true Americans, in lieu of those who oppress their fellows.
Therefore, the motivation the author had in writing this book is to not merely to make historical indictments against the perpetrators of historical injustice against the Filipinos, but to change the minds of Americans into rethinking matters serious such as social cohesion and immigration policies. It is as though Bulosan is recalling the rethinking of Israel Zingwill’s Melting Pot of America in this work. This is the author’s position recants the notion contained in the status quo that all are the same in the US.
The essay’s style, tone, and structure reveal about the writer and the intended audience. The tone of the author is varied, ranging from morose in the presentation of the situation the Filipinos are in, to sobriety, when tackling matters touching on immigration and national identity. The method used by the author is that of self experience and history of a people as case study. This fits into the theme of the course, given that at the moment, America is faced with the need to redefine immigration laws due to the threat of terrorism. It is believed for instance that through America’s porous borders and broad immigration laws Islamic jihadists have had easier deal making incursion into the US, to wreck it from within. The weakening of patriotism due to the rise of consumerism in the place of nationalism is a factor that has also propped up the need to review immigration rules.
Personal Conclusions That Shows Support the Thesis. The standpoint by Bulosan that defining America is a matter that transcends the outward simplistic look at physical constructs such as class, wealth, race and color is no longer feasible. This is because there are those who are less committed to the definitive ideals that were set up by the founding fathers of the American nation. The ability of some citizens to commit treason or to carry out terrorist attacks on America is in itself a clear attestation of the lucidity of the standpoint that the author adopts. The emergence of new problems, especially those that have been caused or aided by globalization such as terrorism have thus tested the loyalty of many to America, as some continue to believe in democracy, capitalism and liberalism as the definitive principles by which America stands, while others are ready to take in conspiracy theories at the expense of their patriotism.
The standpoint adopted by Bulosan that America is best defined by those who uphold its ideals instead of the physical characteristics that are readily perceptible such as class and race is not only lucid, but the most helpful. This is the case as the advent of the 21st century has presented complex problems such as the threat and reality of terrorism and the rise of consumerism which continues to denudate America’s nationalism. While America is totally embroiled in efforts to counter these problems, it is needful for it to increase the number and strength of its Allies and interests, with these Allies being those who stand for the same ideals as the US. Bulosan has already intimated the need for this global approach by opining that all people, from the first Adam to the last Filipino, make up America.