In the essay "Go North, Young Man," explain the writers position by commenting upon the specific points he provides that expand on this idea.The writer claims that migrants bring with them an...

In the essay "Go North, Young Man," explain the writers position by commenting upon the specific points he provides that expand on this idea.

The writer claims that migrants bring with them an energy capable of transforming the reality of those places into where they come, and from where they depart.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I had to pare the original question.  Each of the four questions originally asked would occupy one entire answer.  I hope you can repost them at a later time because each of them are compelling.

Rodriguez's essay claims many elements.  It's a complex essay because immigration is a complex topic and he knows it.  I think that it's important to understand that I don't think Rodriguez is capitulating into a prepared soundbite that traditionally extols the virtues of the immigrant.  He does point to their immense energy and how they transformed the landscape of California:

Suddenly, foreign immigrants were everywhere--Iranians were buying into Beverly Hills; the Vietnamese were moving into San Jose; the Chinese were taking all the spaces in the biochemistry courses at UCLA. And Mexicans, poor Mexicans, were making hotel beds, picking peaches in the Central Valley, changing diapers, even impersonating Italian chefs at Santa Monica restaurants... But immigrants are most disconcerting to California because they are everywhere working, transforming the ethos of the state from leisure to labor. Los Angeles is becoming a vast working city, on the order of Hong Kong or Mexico City.

Consider the implications of this particular set of quotes.  On one hand, the openness of the California vision helped to construct a reality that was open to everyone.  Contrary to the idea of immigration to California moving in a linear pattern from East to West, it really became impacted from the immigration South to North, West to East, and West to more West.  The openness of Calfornia's vision helped attract immigrants that helped to make California vastly different from what it was originally seen.  Rodriguez makes the point that the idea of energy of immigrants was one that helped to make California different in both composition and mere look.  When the Greeley comment of "Go West, Young Man" took hold in America, it was not seen to mean that everyone immerse themselves in California and make a life for themselves there that permanently alters how the state looks and acts.  Yet, in fact, this is what happened.

The energy and transformation that Rodriguez articulates comes out of a fundamental belief, though, that the immigrant is a renegade from all and to all.  This is where he pivots in terms of the traditional immigrant debate.  He argues that the energy that the immigrant brings to an area, in particular California, is because they have nowhere else to go.  Immigration, he argues, offends everyone.  It is "offensive" to the "Native" voice because of the perceived fear of invasion, something that Rodriguez himself critiques as the openness of "California," and by extension, America, reveals that there is "no native voice."  The only possible exception would be the Native American, whose voice is silenced in Rodriguez's mind.  The immigrant "offends" their own sensibility because no one leaves their home willingly.  For Rodriguez, the immigrant leaves their home and their village in order to pursue another end.  Financial, escape, better life for those at home are all reasons.  The energy they bring to this new world is a reflection of the fact that they have nowhere else to go.  Sent out by home and by receivers, their energy is all they have, their only release.