What is the setting in the book Mexican WhiteBoy?

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

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There are two primary settings in Mexican WhiteBoy.  Reflecting its bicultural theme, the novel takes place in San Diego and National City.

Danny embodies a bicultural reality that is mirrored in the setting.  His mother is white, and his father is Mexican. San Diego is the setting that represents the "white" aspect of his personality.  In San Diego, Danny attends the prestigious private school, Leucadia Prep, and experiences a feeling of awkwardness.  It is predominantly white, and the people who look like Danny are those who tend the gardens  or serve the food in the lunch lines.  

In National City, Danny sees the culture of his father.  The first time we see Danny in this setting, the differences between it and San Diego linger in his mind: "But whenever Danny comes down here, to National City—where his dad grew up, where all his aunts and uncles and cousins still live—he feels pale. A full shade lighter. Albino almost."  Danny is darker in the "white" setting of San Diego and lighter in the "Mexican" setting."  These polarities represent the biculturalism that defines his challenges.

Danny straddles both worlds.  He refers to himself as a "Mexican WhiteBoy"   to communicate the challenges he feels in both worlds.  Not having a father to help him navigate through both gender and cultural challenges contributes to Danny's sense of frustration in both settings.  Danny's journey starts off with difficulty, as he is searching for a place where he can find himself.  Just as Danny searches for his "pitch" as a baseball player, the dual settings present themselves as a part of his quest to find his "home" in terms of identity.

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