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Compare and Contrast Looking For Work and An Indian Story - Essay Example

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Compare and Contrast Essay "Looking For Work" and "An Indian Story" “Such was our life” (Soto 27). The quotation illustrates author’s dissatisfaction with the quality of his family’s life. “Looking for work” by G. Soto and “An Indian Story” by R. Jack show the impact of upbringing and family relations on individuals…
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Compare and Contrast Looking For Work and An Indian Story
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Download file to see previous pages Ethnic minorities give new insights into the notion of the family. In both stories the protagonists do not live in a traditional nuclear family setting. There is no father in the home or he does not play an active role in the life of the main character. The role of the head of the family is played by women: mother and aunt Greta. Soto’s mother impersonates the absent father by acting strict and feigning “a stern posture” (Soto 29). Mother’s authority in the family becomes evident when the author chooses her to share his ideas about the fist steps in family improvement, i.e. eating turtle soup. Soto’s mother tries to dissuade the main character by indirectly and repeatedly reminding him of his Mexican origin: she switches languages while talking to her son, calls him “a crazy Mexican” (Soto 29). Thus the family structure in the story is a traditional one since female-headed families are common in Mexican society (Kanellos 69). Aunt Greta, in her turn, helps solve the problems second marriage of author’s father caused. She adopts her nephew since Indian concept of a family relies on bloodline not wedlock. She plays the part of the head of the family by educating the mind and the heart of her nephew. Basically the family types depicted in both stories are matriarchal. In both stories the choices made by the main characters are influenced by the family considerations. Gary Soto wants the best in life not for himself, but for his family. He dreams of wealth “that would save us from ourselves” (Soto 27). He talks about being invited to white people’s homes and front gardens as the prospect for all members of his household. Roger Jack’s decision to attend college is influenced by his aunt. She does not press or push him giving him time to “rest his brains” (Jack 58). His choice of college is based on its proximity to his home and in his first years he frequently goes home. No matter how similar the family structures in two stories seem to be, household atmosphere appear to vary. In "Looking for Work" Soto portrays dissatisfaction with his way of life. He is attracted to the polished TV image of quiet, unhurried family routine. The unknown lures the nine-year-old away from the world of scolding, beating, away from commonplace talks and belly laughs at the table. Instead of comfort and understanding, the protagonist witnesses beating and family rifts. Buttered toasts, mashed potato and turtle soup are substituted by the diet of beans and tortilla. The dessert has to be retrieved from the neighbors’ gardens. Soto’s desires and wishes have no impact on his family, he is mocked by his elder brother, and mother makes no attempt at understanding him. Roger Jack, on the contrary, lives in the world of carefully preserved and cherished traditional values. He believes that we “emulate those we love and care for” (Jack 52). He is taught to take pride in his ancestry; spiritual side of his culture fascinates him. Knowledge is traditionally passed from the elders in the family to the children (Sandoval 73). So aunt Greta plays the part of the educator taking her nephew on trips to the places connected with Indian culture and pow-wows. She is dignified unhurried manners, which makes Jack value her and his culture. Families may differ in the expectations placed on children and parents. In Soto’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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