Immigration: the Untold Story
The essay “Green Cards’ is written by Alberto Alvaro and concerns immigration specifically from Mexico to the United States of America. The essay analyzes the experiences of those who immigrate to America with high hopes and their lives after entering the United States. The writer uses two colors to show the clear distinction between the two countries – the United States and Mexico, especially in terms of culture. When people migrate to the United States, they find it hard to adapt to life there because of the differences between their cultures and that of the native people of the United States of America. Culture is an important aspect of one’s identity, but it can also lead to one’s predicament in some special instances. Both this essay and a poem titled “Immigrants” will help analyze the issue of immigration and the life that follows it.
The writer uses some stories narrated to him by family members to show how peculiar instances change people’s cultures and strip off one’s identity. For instance, the story about people from Mexico being forced to urinate on their own flag shows how immigrants have stripped off their identity as Mexicans and yet were never fully accepted as American citizens. The green color representing Mexico can be interpreted to represent nature. As such, the Mexican way of life can be termed as natural where people are free to carry out their activities with fewer hindrances. The blue color representing America may have been derived from the American flag. The color can be compared to that of the sky. The sky is not something tangible but abstract. As such, the life this color represents on the American soil is not real and natural because the authorities control it tightly. When the two lives are compared, it seems that immigrants had more freedom while in Mexico than in America. Immigrants from Mexico try to change their traditional way of doing things in an attempt to integrate with the American society, but there remains a big gap between them and the Native American citizens. The title of the essay is “Green Cards” which should represent prosperity to those who seek to life in America but leads them to a life of misery, discrimination, and loss of identity. This title plays an ironical role; when comparing the freedom, it ought to represent the actual life experienced by the immigrants.
The poem titled “Immigrants” is written by Pat Mora and exposes the struggles that define the lives of foreigners in America. They view the American life and culture as an ideal and try to adapt to it. The poet uses the symbol of the American flag to demonstrate the extent to which immigrants are willing to go to fit in the American way of life. Immigrant parents wrap their babies with the American flag wishing that by doing so, they would impart American culture and way of life to their children so that they may be accepted as Americans without discrimination. In addition to using the flag, they buy dolls with blue eyes, the blue color representing that in the American flag. By using both that flag and the blue-eyed dolls, the writer is able to demonstrate to the readers of the poem the effort of immigrants to fit in the American culture. In the parents’ determination to teach their children the American way of life, they deny them the chance of knowing their indigenous language and culture so that they can grow up as Americans. The writer effectively demonstrates this by using the whispering speech in the darkness when the children are already asleep. The whispers are made in either Polish or Spanish, the indigenous language of the parents which they do not wish their children to learn. The tone of the question at the end of the poem is a fearful one. The parents fear that despite all their efforts, their children may not be accepted as Americans.
The poem and the essay have several similarities. First, they both talk about the struggles of foreign people in the American society and the struggles they pass through as they try to integrate in the American society. Both the essay and the poem use similar colors to advance their themes to the audience. The blue color appears in both of them is and used in a similar manner representing America. Mexicans in the essay move from Mexico to America (represented by blue color), while parents in the poem wrap their children with American flag that contains the color. There are differences in the usage of the two colors in the two writings. The blue color is used with a connotation in the essay while it is used to demonstrate a positive aspect in the poem. In the essay, the blue color has been used to shoe the negative side of the American life from the immigrants’ perspective. On the other hand, the parents in the poem seem to be genuinely convinced that America represents the ideal life that their children should adopt. That is why they wrap their children with American flag which has blue color as one of its constituents. The issues discussed by both the poem and the essay are very important because they reflect the real world in terms of immigration. They highlight the issues that go unnoticed and bring them to people’s attention.
Alberto Alvaro has used symbolism and metaphors in his essay to express his themes. It seems that the ideas expressed in the essay actually were explored using a poem rather than an essay. On the other hand, Pat Mora has used easy language that has made the poem to be more of an essay rather than a poem. However, both writers have been very effective in expressing the idea of immigration to the United States and the struggles experienced by those who migrate there.