The Internal Tension Faced By Latino Americans Essay

The Internal Tension Faced By Latino Americans Essay

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José Antonio Villarreal’s Pocho does a superb job of dealing with both the common coming of age narrative and the tensions faced by Latino Americans. Richard Rubio attempts to remain individualistic throughout his life but struggles with what that means within the confines that his heritage and society structure him into. Characters ebb and flow through his life, each having certain standards, expectations or ideals predetermined about him. Richard attempts to cast off and ignore the pressures they place on him, and instead forage his own path for what his future is to look like. I believe that the conflict between his family’s Mexican heritage and his American home is what forces Richard to actively pursue, and even fight, for his individuality. The internal tension faced by Richard acts as an early catalyst to be discontent in his own family’s traditions and values and instead begin his search for his true self.
Richard holds himself and his future to a higher realm of possibility than the other white adults in his life. A white recruiter at a boxing ring gives Richard one of his earliest exposures to an outsider attempting to tell him what he can and cannot do based on his skin color . While boxing with Thomas, Richard is told that he could find a future in boxing, and, as the recruiter implies, such a job would be just about as good as Richard, a Mexican, could hope to receive. Richard rejects this man’s attempt to limit Richard’s potential success, and turns the training offer down.
As Richard grows older, cops, teachers, and friends continually underestimate his ability to succeed. When Richard is arrested with his friends, the cop immediately lump them into the same category as the zootsuiters who they all suspected of ra...


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...ack of individuality. From their haircuts, the way they march, and the way their sheets are creased, everything must be homogenous. Richard joins an organization dedicated to removing differences in an attempt to maintain his individuality. Richard’s ability to break free from his household is a display of neither of his heritages but rather him finally taking a stand for his individuality and rising above the pressures that Americans and Mexicans had placed upon him.
Richard’s departure from his hometown and old life is the beginning of his journey to fully become his own person. The prior year had less to do with self exploration and were more dedicated to his combat to cast off the shackles that society imposed upon him due to his skin color and upbringing. Now that he is essentially alone in the world, Richard can remake himself into the person he wants to be.

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