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Gary Soto, the author of the article “Looking for Work,” explores his childhood life and the challenges faced by his family while living in the U. S. Being a young Mexican boy and coming from a poor family makes him think that his family is not as good as white families. In…
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Looking for Work Gary Soto, the of the article “Looking for Work,” explores his childhood life and the challenges faced by his family while living in the U. S. Being a young Mexican boy and coming from a poor family makes him think that his family is not as good as white families. In the article, he says “We lived on an ordinary block of mostly working class people” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 27) Therefore, he decides to look for job so that he could elevate his family from poverty, “and started up the block to look for work” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 27).
He believed that doing so would reduce the misery of hatred experienced by his family as a result of poverty as well as not being whites. According to him getting money would ensure he becomes rich and thus be considered a white kid. In his first encounter looking for job, he meets “a very large woman in a muu-muu” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 27). Since there were no leaves to clear, she gave her the job, “she had a job for me and that was to get her a Coke at the liquor store” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 27).
The main idea in the article is poverty experienced by non-white people in the U.S. for example, the poor state of Gary’s family motivates him to look for job though he is nine years old. He believes that getting money will improve the social status of his family as they will be rich and therefore, be regarded as white people. Such a motivation drives the nine year old Gary to weed a flower bed, “Worms surfaced in my search for deep roots” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 28).
Prior to my reading of the article, I was enthusiastic to read a lot concerning the narrator. As the story unfolds, I became amazed why the nine year old boy went looking for job. I wanted to know the motivation that led him to search for job yet his mother was providing most of basic needs despite being a single mother. However, I later learnt that he had been motivated by the desire to become wealthy with ambition to uplift his family members from poor miserable life they lived.
However, after reading the article, I sympathized with the plight of Gary’s family. For instance, beans and tortillas were their daily dinner meal. He asserts, “We sat to eat our beans and tortillas in the stifling heat of our kitchen” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 27). The hatred the family faced was caused by poverty. This situation prompted Gary to look for a job in order to become rich and improve his family’s living standard. Despite the sympathy, I find it saddening to criticize the poor status of his family. This is because I find him unappreciative of the hard work of his mother in her attempt to meet the daily needs of the family.
Gary uses pathos to highlight his childhood suffering and experience of his family. Through the article, I sympathize with him because of their poor state coupled with hatred directed from white people. This is revealed when his sister asserts, “They’ll never like us” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 3).
Main points/ claims
- His family is poor, disorganized dirty, and dysfunctional. Gary gets attracted to the kind of family life depicted on TV since it appears simpler and united.
- Because of poverty, his family is hated by white
-According to Gary, getting work will make him become a wealthy person. As a rich man, Gary thought he could help improve the status of the family thereby rise from poverty to riches.
As a child, Gary’s reason for looking for a job is logical since he wants to earn money and become rich, “I decided to become rich and right away” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 27). Therefore, he disregards his young age and sets out to look for job. According to him, having money, and thus being wealthy will turn his family’s status and therefore enable them live like the ideal family he watches on TV. However, his family seems not interested as they are used to the hatred and discrimination shown to them by white.
I have sympathy for the poor state of Gary’s family and search for work to uplift it from that situation. This is because in reality, no one likes to lead a miserable poor life therefore his search for job is justifiable. However, I reject his perception and view of his family as dirty, dysfunctional. He should never compare his family with the others since not everyone is equal on earth. Therefore, he could have embraced the sorry state of the family and just work hard to uplift it. Doing so portrays him as looking down upon the effort of his hard working mother, who strives to ensure her children get some basic needs.
Gary uses concessions to argue his case against the decision to look for job .He concedes “Such was our life” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 27). The family lived in an ordinary block and ate one meal of beans and tortillas every dinner. This clearly shows that Gary’s family was very poor as they relied on their mother to provide their daily needs. He therefore justifies his pursuit for a job and thereby be in a position to eradicate poverty from his family.
However Gary leaves in a dream world. He tells his younger brother and sister to put on shoes and get smartly dressed during diner time so that they can resemble the lifestyle of other rich families such as the one he watches every morning in the reruns Father Knows Best. However, he argues that, “My mother dint notice, nor my sister” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 27). He asked his mother whether she, “think we could dressed up for dinner one of these days” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 29). Therefore, Gary does not want to accept the reality that his family cannot lead a life of the rich. Moreover, his family cannot even afford a handkerchief to use to wipe sweat as they eat. He asserts, “Wiping the sweat from our brows with the back of our hands” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 27).
Moreover, he wants to eat turtle soup, which he “had watched from a television program whereby a Polynesian tribe killed a large turtle, gutted” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 29). He claims that the “the turtle, basted in a sugary sauce, looked delicious as I ate a bowl of cereal” (Colombo, Cullen & Bonnie 29). By asking his mother to prepare such a meal, he fails to understand that she struggles to get the beans and tortillas they take for dinner. Therefore, he lives in denial.
Overall conclusion
Gary’s childhood life seemed miserable since they were poor unlike their white neighbors. This made him look for a job in order to end that lifestyle. However, the adult Gary at the end of the story appreciates and becomes happy with both his life and that of his family and accepts it the way it is. Therefore, he later decides to enjoy helping people regardless of reward offered to him. Therefore, his change from unappreciative attitude to that of enjoying his possession and social status has enabled him to work because of passion and not because of becoming wealthy. The article is very effective and has taught me to accept and remain contented with whatever little I have rather than waste time aspiring to be like other people.
Works Cited
Colombo, Gary. , Cullen, Robert, & Lisle, Bonnie. Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for
Critical Thinking and Writing. Bedford/ St. Martin’s: New York, 2010. Retrieved 15 March 16, 2015 from
Inventing Alexis R. “Looking for Work” by Gary Soto- Response, 13, February 2012 from Read More
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