Realism in America is in the Heart

Carlos Bulosan dream is serious thereby making him win the inner struggle. Carlos make individualized decisions that keep him going and ensures that he does not give up hope of achieving his envisioned dream. For instance he makes an individualized decision to leave his brother and pursue his dream. He says, “I looked at my brother and Alfredo and I knew that I would never stay with them, to not rot and perish in their world of brutality and despair. I knew that I wanted something which would ease my fear and stop my flight from dawn to dawn” (Bulosan 72). This is characteristic of realism. Carlos as well as other Filipinos comes to America in search of the ideal America which he refers to being familiar with that is the America of equality, freedom, social justice, and most significant, work opportunities and have a fulfilling life. However, immediately after arriving, Carlos together with other Filipinos find racism, exploitation, and all sorts of conceivable temptation e.g. gambling, crime, women, alcohol, just waiting to either assist them to destroy themselves or destroy them. Certainly, the America they find is different from the one they had previously envisioned. Many of Carlos’ companions in addition to Carlos himself are seen falling into despair traps, alcoholism, and violence that can simply destroy lives. Carlos once stated that, “I feel like a criminal running away from a crime that I did not commit. And that crime is that I am a Filipino in America”. Carlos together with many of these men are however seen trying to transform their environment via organizing unions, education, as well as advocating for their citizenship rights in order to make the conditions favorable for themselves and also for the future generation. Bearing this in mind, Carlos Bulosan’s work depicts the theme of realism.

The believe of realism is seen in the choices made by individuals as significant beyond all as Busolan extricates himself ultimately from the trap of alcoholism and marginalization that we see many falling into. Similarly, if we depend on the particular individual viewpoint, this observation can be spun in either way. A more definitive way of answering this question is by deconstructing Busolan work systematically; applying relevant characteristics of genres in addition to examining the way the work can be read. As a result, the ultimate impression of individuals can be altered ultimately to result into an informed conclusion that this work represents a work in the realist tradition.

The most pertinent feature of the realism genre is that it renders reality closely as well as in detail, with clear and particular description of scenery and people. Busolan’s work is filled with realistic descriptions aimed at representing the world in which the story happens accurately. However, he concentrates more on describing his own thoughts and feelings in rich details although this does not reflect the physical world as is expect in an autobiography. Second, the character must be in explicit association to each other, their environment, as well as their own past. Putting this into consideration, Carlos story is seen to fulfill this realism feature quite well. The small circle of Filipinos that Carlos Bulosan is seen interacting with is definitely in an explicable association with one another. They are a portion of relatively small minority group, still a part of a persecuted group in which they eat, live, and work close to one another. Hence, they come into contact with each other via friends, relatives, as well as the daily life realities. All the individuals that Carlos Bulosan knows are mainly those he has encountered indirectly or directly through his friends and brother Macario. Carlos’ says, “This surreptitious meeting at a cannery in Rose Inlet was the beginning of a friendship that grew simultaneously with the growth of the trade union movement and progressive ideas among the Filipinos in the United States” (Busolan 63).

Some elements in the story appear exaggerated and this can be related to the fact that such things occur in real life, serendipitous encounters as well as events like this that keep alive the faith in Carlo Bulosan’s. Carlos Bulosan’s story is in this regard a realistic one because despite the explicit relationship between the characters and their environment, their common past is not sensational or exaggerated in any way. An example of exaggeration is when Paulo says, “I’ll stay here for seven-years. Paulo said to me. I am not in a mess in Los Angeles anyway-so I’ll stay with this dirty Indian girl” (Busolan 64)

Third, class is very important as a realism feature. Carlos Bulosan’s work certainly has this class feature of realism. A conflict exists in Bulosan between what seems like virtually everyone else and the Filipinos. Almost every one of the Filipinos are poor or at working class. These Filipinos are seen deliberately marginalized both by actual laws and social prejudice. The few ones who are lucky to make good money do it in a dishonest manner, in allowed businesses; they conduct business via underground, black market businesses. To get by, these people are scraping by either by robbery, working menial-labor chores usually as servants or farm hands or by selling liquor like Carlos’ brother.

My next feature of realism is that events are plausible, and avoid the sensational, dramatic components of romances and naturalism. America is in the heart depicts this realism characteristic. Most of the events happening are plausible ones as we expect of an immigrant who have newly arrived to experience many painful things. This experience consist of crime, violence, exploitation, racism, as well the overall developing pains we expect of individuals struggling to assimilate in a foreign land. There are many plausible events observed however, few have been exaggerated. It is both presumptuous and foolish to judge these events without understanding what Carlos Busolan as well as his acquaintances went through in real life. This is because it is common knowledge that truth is stranger than fiction. However, there are instances of dramatic and sensational elements.

The characters use natural vernacular and the tone is seen as matter-of-fact hence reinforcing the fact of realism in this work. The viewpoint of the speaker tells many examples of the use of natural vernacular thereby featuring the strong feeling and the type of introspection observed in the story. Carlos Busolan story is full of heartfelt, passionate responses to the events happening around Busolan and his colleagues. These are the violent and traumatic experiences seen throughout the story. The last characteristic of realism in this work is that the outcome is ultimately in the hands of the character. We see Carlos struggling in America primarily to survive in America. For instance he struggles not to become violent, to avoid alcohol, gambling, or even losing hope for his dream (Busolan 64). This despair is contributed by these forces together with discrimination faced in daily life. Carlos is observed choosing his own future deliberately. Despite the many occasions that certainly could have led him to simply give up, Busolan decided to preserve in his search for a fulfilling life in America.

Carlos encounters humiliation during his stay in America ranging from almost offering free labor in the fish canneries to receiving pennants for his hard work. This is just a representation of the things Carlos deals with during his American time. He could have decided to give up simply by drinking himself to death and handing out with prostitutes, doing menial jobs, and gambling. The title, “America is in the heart” clearly represents Carlo Busolan’s decision that everyone must work in order to achieve this ideal vision. The story is realistic because Carlos is ruled by his own decisions and choices rather than being ruled by his environment. However, there are instances when he is ruled by the environment and succumbs to do things like gambling in order to survive. Despite all these, Carlos Bulosan does not give up his hope for a better life in America.

In conclusion, the genre of realism is very evident in an explicit relation between characters and their surroundings. It is also observed in the significance of social classes, in the events plausibility, as well as the choice which is ultimately in the hands of the characters. Because of these reasons, the text is best analyzed in realist interpretation. Carlos Busolan is seen struggling inside so as to overcome his own internal problems in order to prosper. Carlos has faced many emotional hurdles during his time in America. Dehumanization is an important issue here since this is what Carlos faces on a day to day basis in almost all situations to do with other people besides fellow Filipinos. Most of the people Carlos encounters treat him like an animal as well as noting the way how other people are treated. His efforts to assist people fail initially, for instance when he tries to unionize movement and this leaves Carlos in a hopeless situation.

Carlos’ dreams are serious and they help him to overcome this inner struggle hence making the story realistic. In this viewpoint, the choice of an individual is important above all. This has been combined with other realistic characteristic the story possesses hence reinforcing the idea that the story is realistic.

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