Living Up The Street Gary Soto Analysis

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As a child, Gary Soto imagined that he would “marry Mexican poor, work Mexican hours, and in the end die a Mexican death, broke and in despair” (Soto, “Living Up The Street” 184). Although this may seem surprising coming from the renowned modern Chicano poet of “Saturday at the Canal”, it was the inevitable fate of many in his childhood community. Soto grew up in Fresno, California at the heart of San Joaquin Valley’s agricultural industry in the mid-20th century, where everyone in his family worked in a field or factory. He and his family were never able to envision a future unlike their present of near poverty and violence. As a Mexican-American, he was neither here nor there; he didn’t feel ties to either culture of his label. With expectations …show more content…
They were taught the fundamental American values, beliefs, and ideas, yet the majority of students were oblivious to the contradictions between what they learned in school in regards to the American Dream, democracy, and individualism, and the realities of their people’s racial and class discrimination. By contributing to the deterioration of the Mexican culture through the assimilation of Mexican-American youth, the schools served as the instruments of cultural imperialism. The students were taught to believe Mexican culture was inferior to that of the Americans, and those who failed to conform to the surrounding culture were relegated to classes for students with learning and developmental disabilities. Due to the lack of a proper support system, most students saw no purpose in continuing their education, and were encouraged to drop out of school at an early age, subsequently joining their parents in the cheap labor force. Thus, the Mexican-American youth were nearly always assured of following the same path as their parents in the status of the unemployed or underemployed working …show more content…
They comprised the Chicano or “Brown Power” movement, which fought discrimination, demanded equal opportunities in political representation and employment, and most significantly, supported better education for Mexican-Americans in the United States. It attracted the support of college students, adult groups, and other individuals who advocated cultural nationalism. Chicanos throughout the U.S. formed various grassroots campaigns to boycott schools that cultivated discrimination through cultural content of courses, teaching methodology, and segregation. Student groups such as the Brown Berets led school protests and demonstrations to demonstrate their unhappiness with the state of public education. In 1969, Chicano activists from across the nation gathered for the Chicano Youth Liberation Conference, and developed the revolutionary plan, El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán (The Spiritual Plan of Aztlan). The emphasis of the plan was focused on unity, economics, education, self-defense, and cultural and political freedom from the white domination in the U.S. El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán led to the establishment of Chicano studies programs throughout the majority of California colleges and universities. Although the Chicano movement lost impetus into the 1970s after middle-class Mexican-Americans lost interest, a more conservative

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