English 1a

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The story of immigrant struggles is the major theme in Drown by Junot Diaz. Every immigrant has a personal story, pains and joys, fears and victories. This book captures the fury and alienation of the Dominican immigrant experience very well. Drown brings out the conflicts, yearnings, and frustrations that have been a part of immigrant life for centuries. In each of his stories, Diaz uses a first-person narrator who is observing others. Boys and young drug dealers narrate eight of these tales. Their struggles shift from life in the barrios of the Dominican Republic to grim existence in the slums of New Jersey. The characters in these stories wrestle with recognizable traumas. Yunior and Rafa in Ysrael and Fiesta 1990 confront the pain of growing up, the loss of innocence, and how misfortune just happens to fall upon them. The book argues of a world in which fathers are gone; people fight with determination for their families and themselves. Drown tells of an impoverished, fatherless youth in the Dominican Republic and his struggle with immigrant life in New Jersey. It shows pain and suffering very accurately. For example, the picture inside the plastic bag of the father in Aguantando is one of the symbols. This is a symbol of an absentee father; present in more than one story. The narrator writes, “I live without a father for the first nine years of my life. He was in the States, working, and the only way I knew him was through the photographs my mom’s kept in a plastic sandwich bag under her bed” (69) Also the last and the longest stories, Negocios, reconstructs the adventures of Ramon, the father who left his wife and children behind to try to make it in the States. It is told from the point of Yunior, the youngest son. Negocios , points up this collection's one weakness. It is a chronicle of his father's immigration, remarriage and, finally, the rescuing of his children and first wife from their bleak life in the Dominican Republic. Some people think there...
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