America is in the Heart Summary
The plot of America is in the Heart parallels its author’s personal experiences. The protagonist, who is also named Carlos (though he goes by the nickname ‘Allos’ when in the Philippines and tells others to call him ‘Carl’ while in the United States) is a young boy working with his father on their farm in the Philippines at the book’s opening. After a period of working throughout the island of Luzon Carlos immigrates to the United States, where he continues to work as a migrant laborer until he realizes he is capable of writing in English and pledges to bring his family members back to life through the written word. He also often uses literature to connect with the United States itself; Carlos reads classic American authors like Whitman and Melville in an attempt to discover and understand a side of the United States far removed from the prejudice and pain of the American society he found himself in. On one occasion Carlos and some acquaintances were attacked by a group of white men for no reason other than their race, only to be greatly aided by the white men and women working in a hospital.Walking down the marble stairway of the hospital, I began to wonder at the paradox of America. José's tragedy was brought about by railroad detectives, yet he had done no harm of any consequence to the company. On the highway, again, motorists had refused to take a dying man. And yet in this hospital, among white people-- Americans like those who had denied us-- we had found refuge and tolerance. Why was America so kind and yet so cruel? Was there no way to simplifying things in this continent so that suffering would be minimized? Was there no common denominator on which we could all meet? I was angry and confused, and wondered if I would ever understand this paradox. (Bulosan 147) The word “paradox” perfectly summarizes Carlos’ experiences in the United States. Like Carlos searched for America through the works of great American authors,...
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