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Tattooed Soldier - Essay Example

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Hector Tobar’s the tattooed soldier is a fascinating novel describing the life of Guatemalan immigrants in their struggle to make a living in Los Angeles. The story is also a description of past vantage peak of Guatemala throughout the times of civil conflicts and Los Angeles in its chaotic and bloody post-Rodney King riots. …
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Tattooed Soldier
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Download file to see previous pages Antonio Bernal, a Guatemalan refugee is traumatized by the brutal death of his wife and only one son. He flees to Los Angeles to find solace, forget the problems and redeem his life. ‘When he first came to Los Angeles, Antonio thought of it as the place where he would redeem himself, undertake a new beginning’. Being a middle class civil servant once, seven years down the line, Antonio is wandering like homeless tramps in the city. He has been evicted from a rental house for failing to clear rent. The bitter truth that Los Angeles is no better than Guatemala reveals itself. He finds that life in the city is much more difficult and all his hopes abort.
Guillermo Longoria is an ex-military soldier, an perpetrator of Antonio’s family and a member of death squad, the jaguar battalion of the Guatemalan army. He has tattooed his forearm with a yellow menacing jaguar as a mark of ruthless executor. Having contributed to the genocide that burnt the Guatemalan highlands and participated in the assassination of many Guatemalan citizens, he also flees to Los Angeles. He hopes to rid off the feelings, memories and the guilty consciousness he is suffering from as a result of his actions. He believes Los Angeles is not infected with the filth and pandemonium like that in Guatemala. Unfortunate for him, he learns that the city is even worse. ‘This place, this Los Angeles, is a cloud of filth, even the sky is muddy brown… no one in Los Angeles seemed to care about trespassing, about people breaking the law”...
Unfortunate for him, he learns that the city is even worse. ‘This place, this Los Angeles, is a cloud of filth, even the sky is muddy brown… no one in Los Angeles seemed to care about trespassing, about people breaking the law” (Tobar, 34). The two men have been brought up in humble backgrounds. Both are haunted by past experiences and hopes for bright future in America. Antonio, seven years ago a middle-class civil servant, married and with one son comes home from work to meet his wife and son killed. The memories and fear ignites cowardice and he is fighting with self esteem in the move to avenge his family murderer. Longoria was a peasant before being coerced to join the army, a profession he eventually came to love. Luckily, his military experience earns him a job and is able to have his own home in America. Having committed crimes in Guatemala, he believes to find peace in Los Angeles, where he thinks is crime free. “He would not be swallowed by the uncleanliness around him’ (Tobar, 34) The book is a story of exiles, outsiders, the marginalized, and the powerless. Immigrants have very high expectations about America. Unfortunately, when they move in, especially elites, their profession and social statuses are reduced. Tobar says’ Women with medical degrees became laboratory assistants, accountants became ditch diggers.” (Tobar, 51). the social inequalities are very visible. Only a few like longoria can survive in the city because of its diversity. But immigrants have a hard time being assimilating in the American cultures. The powerless have no option but to concede injustice. Longoria has gotten away with so many crimes but his military experience earns him a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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