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The Search for a Better Life

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The Search for a Better Life

Page 1 of 3
The first theme that I think is apparent is the search for a better life. Conditions in the rural Philippines are hard for the peasants. There is hardship and exploitation. The peasant children have no childhood because they are working in the fields or in the market or home with the parents at an early age. The boys leave their parents' home in their early teens to find work and a better life, trying to escape the harsh and hopeless environment. Their families know and expect this. Carlos' mother tells him several times that he can go and that they are poor. They go from menial job to menial job trying to make out a living. The parents can't give them a better life in a farming environment and the parents and children know this. As a result of the transfer of the Philippines to the United States, there is free public education if the student's family can afford to pay the student's travel and living expenses. The children all want to attend school but their families cannot afford it. Many peasant families work hard to send at least one son to high school. Carlos' father has to sell his land so that Macario can finish high school with the hope that he will return, work and make their lives better. There is social agitation in the rural Philippines as apparent by the peasant revolts. The United States, to the peasants, means equality. Equality is something they don't have in the Philippines. Many of the Filipinos come to America expecting to find equality. Instead they find discrimination, hatred and horrible living conditions. They wander from place to place trying to find work to feed and clothe themselves. They find themselves living as groups in hotel rooms if one or two people are working and can pay the rent. The only time Carlos is guaranteed food and a place to sleep is when he is in the hospital. He arrives in the country as a minor with no parents as many Filipinos did. They are not allowed to become citizens, to own land or to serve in the armed...