Book Report: America Is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan

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America Is in the Heart is the semi-autobiography of Allo, or Carlos, Bulosan, a Filipino who immigrated to the United States in the 1930s at the age of 17. Bulosan left his life in the Philippines as a peasant and followed two of his older brothers, Macario and Amado, to America hoping to live the American dream and prosper. Upon arriving in Seattle, he was greeted with hostility and racism from Americans, making his goal of finding work nearly impossible. The United States economy had been badly damaged from the Depression, causing work to be scarce. The only jobs available to Filipinos were those in the fields or canneries. Bulosan was forced to travel across the West, as did other migrant workers, following the different crops to be harvested. Housing was also scarce because many landlords would not accommodate a Filipino or the costs were just too high. Because of this, Filipinos were restricted to certain areas of cities that were littered with Chinese gambling houses and brothels where most Filipinos spent all their wages. Bulosan eventually became involved in the Filipino labor movement, meeting with several movement leaders and organizing unions to protect Filipino workers. Later, Bulosan came down with tuberculosis, requiring him to go through three serious operations. He spent two years recovering in the Los Angeles General Hospital. During this time he focused on writing and reading literature given to him by a white woman, Eileen Odell, when she visited. When he was released, he looked for a room with his brother, but it was to no avail. They were denied everywhere they went until they reached the red light district. Bulosan wanted to focus the rest of his time on writing poetry and working on his autobiography. He spent the majority of his time in libraries, trying to educate himself on a wide variety of topics. Later, when he became involved in the labor movement again he was not readily accepted because of his high...
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