Themes In Luis J. Rodriguez's 'Always Running'

1145 Words 5 Pages
In the memoir, Always Running, by Luis J. Rodriguez, Luis takes the readers on a journey of his life and the hardships he had to face as he grew up. This memoir shows segregation, racism, and discrimination. How small choices can change someones life instantaneously and the people Luis meets influences him to join gangs to create a structured life and to find a sense of belonging. The choices he makes pushes his family away and when this occurs he begins to lose hope. Not only does losing a home and a family cause for Luis to get more involved in gangs, but the lack of education he receives and the police brutality he faces are major factors; which means in order to be saved he must find a purpose, a reason to live without violence or hate. …show more content…
Schools would expel the students instead of trying to help them change and/or break out of these destructive behaviors. “The school had two principal languages. Two skin tones and two cultures. It revolved around class differences” (Rodríguez, 158). This shows the separation between Caucasians and Mexicans in school, which also shows the segregation, racism, and discrimination kids had to face before they even turned fourteen. Teachers gave up on the teens who did not speak English as their first language and who had dark skin. As stated on page 61, teachers did not know how to handle students of color because of their language. They made it seem like a burden to help the students. The teachers and school officials were part of the reason Luis became involved in gangs because this treatment makes young Mexican students look negatively on themselves, like they are not able to succeed or do well. Gangs were so appealing because children desired respect, a sense of belonging, and protection (Rodríguez,444) and this was taken away in …show more content…
The constant brutality causes these kids to grow up angry. One day, Luis and his friend Carlitos were stopped and searched by an officer, which later led to the officer beating Carlitos and pushing the boys around (Rodríguez, 180). Being randomly searched was something that all Mexicans faced during this time. The police did not need to have a reason to stop them, they just felt so much hate towards Mexicans and took advantage of their power. This hatred was shared by the Mexicans, for example, “the rage from seeing Carlitos being choked and the cops pushing [Luis and him] around had been building up for years” (Rodríguez, 180). It shows how every time Mexicans are attacked or unlawfully searched, they grow this anger. It creates gang violence and an even larger division between Anglos and Mexicans. In his memoir, Rodriguez expresses how he believes officers create this anger in order to continue the cycle of violence that was occurring. This was shown with the death of Santos and Indio, how Luis believes the police killed them, while others believe it was Sangra. This shows how anger creates gangs, but the never ending violence prevents them from fading

Related Documents