We want Bread but Roses too
The story of Rosa and Maya are being played out in real life within the Mexican immigrant workers. The authenticity with which the story is told is astounding, showing a deep respect for those who in search of a way to make an honest living, subject themselves to countless humiliations and are relegated to live outside the margins of mainstream America. Every worker has an equal right to unionize and fight against the unfair conditions at work (Thesis Statement). Bread and Roses shows us the world of the illegal immigrants in Los Angeles who clean buildings for sub-standard wages and no benefits. Life is a daily struggle to pay the bills and put food on the table. These poor people live in fear that they will be fired without any cause and turned into beggars. Often enough their worst fears are realized. They watch helplessly as their friends are demeaned, mistreated, and thrown out on the street.
A union organizer, Sam, tries to organize these frightened and abused people. He meets Maya, who works in the office building as a janitor and who thanks for the help she received from her sister, Rosa. Maya has recently been smuggled into Los Angeles by “coyotes”, men who take advantage of poor Mexicans who want a chance of the good life in America. She still has her hopes and idealism intact and argues with her sister to help Sam deliver his message to all janitors at the building where they work.
Rosa has lost her idealism and much of her hope years ago. She struggles to pay her bills, support a sick husband, and maintain her health and sanity, both of which she is in danger of losing. The most moving scene of the movie is when Rosa explains to Maya how she has had to degrade herself to live and support her family. She is a good person who has prostituted herself to survive. Her description of the years she has submitted to the bestial behavior of the animals that prey on the weak and powerless women who want nothing more than bread...
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