America is in the Heart, in pursuit of his “American Dream”
America is in the Heart was an autobiography of Carlos Bulosan(1913-1956) a native of BinaAmerica is in the Heart, in pursuit of his “American Dream”
America is in the Heart was an autobiography of Carlos Bulosan(1913-1956) a native of Binalonan, Pangasinan who went to California for greener pastures during the great depression in the US. The book was first published in 1946 in the US and was only given an attention in the country during the First Quarter Storm (1972), its great relevance during those times gave this biography the attention it needs.
In the book he gave his 3 brothers fictive names and the book was divided into 4 parts, the first part was about his childhood memory, his family in Pangasinan at the flight of his brothers. The first part was may favorite, its rural setting and his poignant writing gripped me. This was the most emotional part for me, sharing your family stories and tragedies while growing up, unable to fully understand things that are happening around you, accepting blows hoping to understand it someday, in time.
The second part was about his flight, his adventures in foreign land and realizing his American Dream and illusions of it. He went to America when he was just 17 years old, sold as slave and worked from one plantation to another. He later found his brother or rather his brother found him. This part was about his hardships and realizations. Hardship of being a Filipino worker in America in those dark times, when there was no available jobs and being a Filipino is like being a dog; discrimination of other races filled the American air.
The two latter parts was about his involvement in the labor unions and the movement. He organized labor movements for better working conditions. And it is also the part where he writes his poems and short stories and got published. He was bedridden for 2 years and this was his productive years. The book ends during the first year of WWII when one of his brothers volunteered to fight for his motherland. Allos(Carlos), also intends to come back to the Philippine but it didn’t happen, he died in 1956.
On halfway reading this book, I can’t help but to think if this is really a biography or a work of fiction, asking myself was it really possible, is he being truthful to me? Did he manage to take all the blows? I think not. He may not experience it all but I believed he wrote for those Filipinos who do. But none the less this book was a great work, Bulosan’s magnum opus.
I first read him way back in high school, his short story “The Tree of my father” was included in our Philippine Literature class, again in college with his story “My Father goes to Court”. Carlos Bulosan was one our great writers that I believe to be underrated, this book still rings its relevance today, this book showed me tragedies and hardships of the past that we need not to ignore. I recommend this book to every Filipino, especially to those who have family members who left in search of a greener pasture working to support us, let us not forget their hardships.
I’m planning to read his novel “All the Conspirators” this month. ...more