The Immigrants in Breath, Eyes, Memory

The Immigrants in Breath, Eyes, Memory

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Immigrants  Breath, Eyes, Memory  

 

Having to move to another country is not an east task because you are leaving behind everyone that you know since you are a little kid. Sophie was experiencing this because now she must drop everything and jump in a plane to reunited with her mother which she only have heard her voice.
Haiti and Tante Atie was all Sophie knew, the freedom that she had to run around or just play with kids from across the street while the hot sun is kicking in. Tante Atie for Sophie was the mother that she always wanted; a mother that would wait for her outside when she returned from school or a mother that would tell her stories when she couldn't fall asleep. This will soon change when one-day plane tickets arrive and everything that was familiar to her was no longer there.
Sophie was now in a new country with a mother that was also new to her. She now most learn English and at the same time maintain a fluent Creole. But the most difficult thing is to get use to New York and her new surroundings because you no longer can be running around in the street and your parents are working day and night. There is no more freedom until you become an American (meaning more independent an liberal) in from of your mother eyes.
I can relate to this novel a lot because I came to this country when I was eleven years old and I had to leave my grand parents, my father and my friends behind for a new life with my mother. It was a big change because I no longer could go outside and play baseball with my friends instead I most stay in and play Nintendo. I couldn't speak with some people in my school because I did not speak English nor did I understand the language. I had to work hard to understand and speak English, I used to always go to McDonalds and order the food, this was a way for me to practice or volunteer to go to the deans office to drop or to pick up something. At the beginning was hard but my friends were supportive but there were times when people try to put me down because of my heavy accent, at that point I wanted to loss my accent but I learn that my accent is part of who I am.

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I do try to speak more clearly for a better understanding.

 

 

My best friend Claude went through a similar experience as Sophie in relation to some of the circumstances they both had to go through when coming to America. As it turns out my Friend Claude is also from Haiti and grew up there till he was about fourteen. As with Sophie his mother left him to come to America when he was young. My Assumption is that she did that to create better circumstances for her kids, for she is now a nurse. However my friend has never seen it that way and would never care to. As far as he is concerned his mother doesn’t know him, she didn’t raise him, so then she shouldn’t bother to tell him what to do. As a result this ongoing struggle and conflict has created a lot of tension in their household. Though he is very acclimated to America by now, the lack of support he was receiving at home magnified the obstacles he had to face else where in his life at the time. The hardest part for him outside of calling a stranger his mother was becoming acquainted to what was going on socially most importantly in the school system. The first discouraging blow for him was that they held him back a year, the second was that though he had learned English in Haiti his accent was very thick and hard for people to understand him. Kids being unforgiving to anybody different from them or uncool would crack on him and put him down. But even worse it made it harder for him to speak to school officials like his advisor, and make sure he had the right classes he needed. As with Sophie it was as if he was thrown into a maze with out a map or a guide to help him find his way out. With out the support from home or in school he was lost until he found support and took refuge with kids just like him. As a result he joined a Haitian gang, realizing that respect in America came with either money or name brands, or with power, meaning whom you know or are associated with. Now he is no longer associated with any gang but I find it funny how much emphasis he still puts on material things and peer respect or power as if he has been emotionally scared for life. But he once told me that it's not that it's just that growing up in his country power is viewed as everything or the most important thing. Which I guess make sense considering his pops worked in the government which allowed him to see first hand why power was so important if you wanted to survive.
Lastly I don’t think Haitian culture is something which many youth have struggled to preserve other than maybe the food and soccer probably due to the stiff scrutiny and name calling they face, from other kids. Unfortunately it is only recently with the success of several star figures like for instance Wyclef of the Fugees, that society has become more accepting of Haitian.

 

 

 
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