A Dreamer’s Struggles In Victor Villasenor novel, Rain of Gold is an accurate view in how he portrays what his family experienced in migrating into the Southwest of the United States, in attempt to live a safe prosperous life. Lupe, Victoriano, and Juan are three characters from the novel that best illustrates the struggles that many immigrants face in crossing over in search for work and safety. In Occupied America, by Rodolfo Acuna supports the experiences of the characters in the novel, making it clear that the events that took place in Rain of Gold are in fact what people experience in the real life.
For instance, Lupe struggled with the threat of being rapped as well as any other young lady in the novel; she also struggled with education by either not having the support of the community to establish a school district, and or putting obstacles that keep her from attending school when school was available. In the case of Victoriano, he experienced discrimination from his own race, and beatings from authority.
Lastly, Juan, struggled, like Victoriano, discrimination, and like the other characters in the novel struggled to cross borders and under goes difficult struggles as a young boy, and then the biggest issue we still struggle with today, assimilation. Growing up was difficult for Lupe. She endured a lot of hardship growing up, where instead of living a peaceful childhood she had to constantly hide and be aware of those around because at any given moment a creature from hell could just come and grab her and snatch her innocence from her, on page 74 of novel Lupe states that, “No girl was safe anymore.
La Liebre and his men were raping any girl that happened to walk by the plaza unescorted”, examining this quote it is evident that no female girl or woman was safe in their own home, in order to run errands or do daily chores away from home they needed to be accompanied to keep them from harm. In Occupied America makes it easy to understand that these incidents truly did occur to women, “Californio families lived in no Utopia. They were patriarchal; sexual violence, rape and incest burden fell on the poor and native women, who did not have “protectors”. (pg 127) In other words women had no worth, and no one to defend their worth. Being a woman myself I cannot imagine what they went through and to think that many of them after the years perhaps thought that this is in fact was their purpose, to be nothing. Lupe was no exception she encountered many incidents where she was nearly raped, as a matter of fact a lot of the girl of her town were raped so bad that they died from the impact. “And not only had the bandits killed Don Tiburcio, they’d taken their gold, raped Paloma and other two Indian girls, killing all of them. (pg 198) Another obstacle Lupe experienced that majority of girl’s experienced were no support for an education. It was a privilege for any child to go to school, none less a girl. The novel puts emphasis through the story how Lupe struggled to get an education. For example, when Don Manuel declares, “He’s under no written obligation to supply a school for the village. ” He was arguing with the mothers of the students whom attended school when they discontinued paying Senora Munoz, though she continued to teach which was leading her to secretly starve.
But the village united and helped maintain education by paying the teacher what they could as long as they could and took turn having her over for dinner and feeding her in the meantime she was there. Another occasion was when Lupe was older and by then she had migrated to the United States, she had returned to school and although she was making great progress and maintain good discipline and determination she went through a hurdle that scared her from ever returning she explained to her mother stating, “Mr.
Horn my new teacher, was real nice to me, too, helping me after school; but then one day he, he, he grabbed me from behind while I was writing on the blackboard. ”(pg267) This frightened Lupe especially when he called her a dirty Mexican prick-tease that she was too old to be in school. In her time women Mexican women were taught to be respected and not allow a man to ever mistreat them, their customs were solid in marrying a virgin, so this act from a professor raged anyone with values like Lupe. Occupied America” also supports lack of education affirming, “Spanish authorities were not inclined to educate them. ” Meaning women, “Few religious schools dedicates to educating young women existed. ” (pg 27) It is clear that there was very little if any support to educate women, Euro American viewed women to be inferior and keeping them ignorant was in their best interest, though I am proud to say that today because of good men and intellectual ingenious women the female gender has an overall equal fair chance at an education.
But like everything else it was not an easy rode to et there. Victoriano, which in the novel is Lupe’s older brother by a few years, battled his own demons. For example, when he saw that his family was struggling to survive he ran to find any scrap of gold that was left behind were the miners threw old scraps of materials, during his search he founds a few rocks that could potentially had been gold, when he ran into trouble doing absolutely nothing wrong, “Nothing he could say would stop these vicious men. They were sneering at him like huge, hungry cats ready to pounce on a mouse. (pg85) At this point La Liebre found him digging the grounds and questioned him and accused him of stealing though that was open for anyone to dig, but they were just itching for violence. They tried to hang him stating that they were going to make an example of him for stealing, but his mother would die before watching her only make son die. In the process she managed to save her teens live from being hanged and shot the main leader of La Liebre, forcing the other men who were still alive to leave the village leaving the people to celebrate for uniting against terror.
Victoriano having experienced injustice beatings and almost death provides lucid narrative of authority abuse. Where an official or someone with some form of power takes matters into their own hands. “Los Mineros” video delegates the experiences of miners in the United States that were brought from two main territories Chihuahua and Sinaloa, based on their past experience as miners, little did they know that they would be getting paid scrap money and live in horrible conditions.
When they reached their ending point they began to organize protest and fight for healthcare and welfare. During their battle many participants were jailed and beaten sometimes to death, for protesting stating that they were disturbing the peace. In reality government officials would make up any story to imprison these men, which were only fighting for what was owned to them. The video was not made up by actors it was a documentary of the men who experienced the unfair treatment of the “white man. Evidence is all around us it’s just a matter of us realizing and making a change. Juan was an interesting character. He came of a line of heroes and embraced his ancestry; he was a boy who grew up to be proud of his past. When I first began to read into Juan’s story I had the impression he was a grown man based on is actions and attitude, little did I know he was just a thirteen year old boy who know more about life than the average 20 year old today.
Juan went through a lot of discrimination throughout the novel, at one point when he is talking to two of his nephews he informs the two that, “Hell he treated the dogs better than me. He only had eyes for my brother Domingo, who was blue-eyed like himself. ”(pg228) and goes on and tells the boys that prejudice exist in Mexico too, meaning that it’s not just in the United States that narrow-mindedness is present but in their native country as well.
In the article, “The True Significance of the Word White” maintains how assimilation came to birth and how the mindset of the Euro American affected the culture and lifestyle of the Latin people. One piece of the article it’s obvious what they thought of the Mexican people and therefore look down on then and discriminated against them, “European Americans believed Mexicans were an “indolent” people, whose backwardness reflected their having poor personal habits and collective deficiencies such as laziness or a penchant for extravagances. In them succeeding in passing along this “opinion” of Mexican people it was just as easy for Mexican people to accept this concept. In result, any trace of being Mexican was viewed as even being ugly, yet if one was Mexican but had traces that made them look white it was praised upon and it made it quite easy to blend with the rest and reject their cultural which is what the Euro Americans wanted and succeeded in. This is also referred to as assimilation. In the novel many of the characters adapted assimilation, Juan was sure to be one of them.
When he left Montana to visit his mother his sister and mother noticed he was not the same young boy they once knew. He was almost unrecognizable at first and second glance, “Just look at you! These clothes, and the taxi” (pg223) His sister took notice of Juan’s transformation, and though she did not emphasize too much about how much he had changed it was apparent that he had lost a part of himself along the way. He realized that he could hardly speak clear Spanish anymore having difficulty pronouncing words fluently.
In “Occupied America” there is an important message written that is empowering and influential, it reads, “Yet the debate is not whether assimilation is taking place, but what it means. Most agree that assimilation into life in the U. S. is not an instant transformation in which an immigrant suddenly becomes a full-flagged American. Nor does it require the obligation of ethnic identity. Instead, assimilation is a long-term, sometimes multi-generational, process in which newcomers of different backgrounds adopt basic notions of American life—equality under law, due process, and economic opportunity.
Put another way, assimilation is not about immigrants rejecting their past, but about people of different racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds coming to believe that they are a part of an overarching American family. ” It was necessary to write it all out to truly capture the depths of this message. Thou some may argue was assimilation is this we can all agree in. In the case of Juan it took him a while to find him and to realize that one must first think with our minds before acting on impulse.
Juan experienced a true roller coaster like I am sure many did. I felt that Juan stands out among the rest because if analyzed piece by piece it is true that he experienced by far what most immigrants have and do presently in their quest to the southwest. Rain of Gold, Occupied America and other resources studied in class, identifies how events stated in the material used was very much so true, and though people may deny or ignore the truth it is not likely to be forgotten if informed, it is up to the individual to own up to the truth.
The three characters Lupe, Victoriano, and Juan were good examples in the novel that added emphasis to real life experiences of people migrating to the southwest. Though there is so much to say about these characters and others with just concentrating with this analysis one can conclude that a life of an immigrant is not a choice or a preference but a form of survival.
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