Barrio Boy And The Joy Luck Club

941 words - 4 pages

In both pieces of literature; "Barrio Boy," by Ernesto Galarza and "The Joy Luck Club," by Amy Tan; the authors portray five families and their friends' struggle with language barriers, even within their own families, adapting to the customs and routines of the North American society, and how the younger family members succeeded in school, work, and relationships.
In Amy Tan's book "The Joy Luck Club," the theme of the "American Dream," which is the belief that America is a guaranteed land of opportunity, of success and happiness is the main theme in the story. It is of women who set off on a journey because in their own country they were suffering through many hardships, like war and shame from their own family in China. Much like Ernesto Galarza's book, "Barrio Boy," his family and Ernesto experience a revolution in Mexico, their home country. The hardships of having to move from city to city in Mexico was tough on the family since they basically needed to start from scratch and ask for favors from other family members if they could stay under their roofs. In Amy Tan's book, Lena one of the immigrant's child is only 10 years old when her father is promoted. He moves the family across the bay to San Francisco, where they take an apartment at the top of a steep hill. Lena's mother is not happy with the apartment; she feels that it is "not balanced," and that all their good luck will vanish.
In "Barrio Boy," when a child of a neighbor was dying, Doña Tránsito called the curandera; a woman who practices folk medicine with herbs, unguents, compresses, poultices, and a little prayer, and much faith on the part of the patient. In the story "the healer laid on a side table an assortment of bundled weeds, small glass jars, candles, and paper bags tied with strings. On the floor next to her she placed a canvas satchel.......The electric light was turned off. She opened the satchel and took out a framed picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which was hung on the all over the sick child's head." She continued with the ritual but unfortunately the child died in the morning. These two situations that happened in the books has much to do with culture and traditions that the immigrants in the stories believe in and still practiced, no matter where they resided. Lena's mother felt that having a house too high up could ward of good spirits and would not bring good luck to the family, which is commonly known as the practice of Feng Shui. In Ernesto's case he witnessed a prayer ritual for those who are very sick,...

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