In America Is in the Heart, what does the author find most hurtful in his struggles with being an immigrant?

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

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Bulosan finds the challenge of simply living in America as the most hurtful part of his struggles as  an immigrant.  After leaving his native Philippines with so much in way of hope and promise simply because what he was moving towards would have to be better than what he experienced, Bulosan comes to realize that being in America as an immigrant is a difficult form of suffering. When he experiences exploitation and injustice in his first job, Bulosan suggests that “It was the beginning of my life in America, the beginning of a long flight that carried me down the years, fighting desperately to find peace in some corner of life."  Bulosan acknowledges that America is a domain where struggle and injustice exist.  It is a world where signs frequently indicate the dehumanized existence Bulosan and many others lived, one where "Dogs and Filipinos not allowed."  Bulosan realizes  “that in many ways it was a crime to be a Filipino in California. I came to know that the public streets were not free to my people. . . .”  These experiences carry with them a specific pain, a hurt that is endless about what it means to have believed in the dreams and promises of the garden of hope only to experience a desert of blighted dreams.  

For Bulosan, this becomes a significant part of what he finds the most hurtful about his struggles in being an immigrant.  It is an experience that consists of the lure of what can be colliding with the reality of injustice.  This condition where faith and hope are met head on with a reality that denies both becomes the location where hurt exists in his struggles with being an immigrant.

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