Why do you think Bulosan titled his book America Is in the Heart? Should we take his title and conclusion literally? Or are there possibly ironic or ambivalent undertones?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The original question had to be edited.  I would suggest that the title of Bulosan's work is to reflect that the vision of America that he obviously loved is one that exists in his heart.  The conclusion of the text reads as such:  “the American earth was like a huge heart unfolding warmly to receive me. . . . It came to me that no man . . . could destroy my faith in America again.”   Despite everything he endures in America, Bulosan believes that the America that means the world to him is one "in the heart."  Given that he ends the work with this, it makes sense for us to take him literally at this conclusion point.  Bulosan's sacrifice and endurance of the difficulties in America have not dampened his love for it.  

While it might be easy to accept an ironic or ambivalent undertones, the ending of the work is persuasive to take Bulosan at his words.  His vision of America is so strong and so powerful that nothing individuals could do in terms of discrimination, hatred, prejudice, and cruelty would detract from what America means for him. Bulosan's ending reminds the reader that while there are "injustices" in America, what it means is where love for it resides.  Bulosan recognizes that sometimes what one loves is more important than whether it fully loves one back.  It is for this reason that the title is appropriate because no matter what happens to him in America, the vision of love he has for it is in his heart.

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