Dance Essay

Topics: Puerto Rico, Tucker Smith, Somewhere Pages: 7 (2768 words) Published: November 21, 2012
The song America (West Side Story) - Essay
The song America (West Side Story) - Essay From dishwasher to millionaire - for this sentence America is famous. But is it true that you have every opportunity in America? The song ?America? from the musical ?West Side Story? written by Leonard Bernstein may have an answer for this question. At the beginning of ?West Side Story? we hear a song, a dialogue between Puerto Rican immigrants. The girls point out the wonderful sides of living in America, but the boys always show the hard reality and that the life for immigrants isn?t easy. The girls see America as the land of freedom an opportunities, that everything is now possible for them. They can buy everything they want, even on credit. The answer of the boys is t

Even if immigrants know that not everything in America is sugar and honey, they try to find a better life in America and hope that they have more luck than their predecessors. Life can be bright in America, life is all right in America, the girls sing. They show that there is no way to belong to the high- or even middle-society, because there is no space for coloured people. If you are a foreigner, you have to work hard to exist in America. that the prejudice to immigrants is bigger than the trust, one look at us and they charge twice. You have to fight for your rights in the society. And the girls dont really find an argument against the statement of the boys, that America is full of grime and organized crime, all in all a terrible time. The girls dream of their own houses and apartments with more space and terrace ends with the twelve in a room theory, because everything is so expensive and the house owners slam the doors in foreigners faces and even dont give them the chance to show, that they can live and behave like white people too. The girls speak of pride and honour, but the boys point out, that there is only pride and honour, if you stay on your own side. Immigrants should be happy, if they get a badly paid job for example to wipe tables and shine shoes. The advantage that you are free to be anything you choose is also more or less for white people in America. The boys want to go back to San Juan and sing that everyone there will give them big cheer, but there the girls are right when the simply answer that everyone there will have moved here. Now, after taking a closer look at America we see, that it is possible to live the life of our dreams, but that for immigrants the possibility, that they become millionaires is not very likely to happen, so is the chance that they live a middleclass-life.

As long as love, hatred, and conflict remain in the world West Side Story will remain an important, timeless, and relevant work. One of the largest and most culturally significant themes throughout the play is racism/violence. This is expressed through the conflict between the sharks and jets which comes to symbolize the conflict between Puerto Ricans and poor whites in New York city during the 1950's and can be applied on a broader level to symbolize racial tension in general. This theme is explored and explained in act one scenes five and six by the songs America and Cool both exemplify and define the sharks and the jets and speak to the larger theme of racism in America. To fully understand these central songs it is important to examine the songs role in the play as a whole, the structure and mechanics of the song, and the effect that the song has on the rest of the musical. The first real exposition of the Puerto Ricans and the Sharks is the song America. Sung by Anita and Rosalia and featuring the shark girlfriend chorus, this song explains the benefits and problems associated with America. The song takes the form of a debate between Anita and Rosalia with Anita (and later the chorus) defending America and what it has to offer and Rosalia defending Puerto Rico. Anita and Rosalia's respective positions in the...
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