The Barbarian Nurseries

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Immigration to the United States of America has been monumental in the development of this great nation. In both The Barbarian Nurseries, written by Hector Tobar, and Summer of the Big Bachi, written by Naomi Hirahara, are centered around two characters that once moved to America from a foreign land, in hopes to have the American dream, the traditional social ideals of the United States, such as equality, democracy, and material prosperity. Both of the characters work in laborious fields and undergo scrutiny and interrogation of unfortunate circumstances that were out of their control. The strain that is put on immigrants from other countries is prominent in both of these captivating novels.

In The Barbarian Nurseries, the main character, Araceli, is the one that holds the Torres-Thompson household together, just as she holds this novel together. Araceli came to California after dropping out of art school in Mexico and moved to California and now lives in the family’s guesthouse. She does everything for the family; everything from keeping ants at bay by drawing a line of chalk on the kitchen floors to feeding and caring for the Torres-Thompson children. To Maureen and Scott, the householders who Araceli works for, she is unfamiliar and difficult to understand. Yet to the reader, she is the understandable and recognizable hard working woman trying to support her family the best she can. Araceli takes pride in her work; she sends a portion of the money she earns home to her family. Since she cannot tell her employers how she truly feels about them, her actions and body language convey a message to the reader. For example, at a party, Araceli makes a dish in the colors of the Mexican flag, subtly expressing who she is. Throughout the novel you see the struggle that Araceli goes through within herself. She frequently has internal dialogue that is a mix of English phrasing and Spanish language. Tobar uses this technique to demonstrate the struggle that is going on...
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