Harvest of Empire

by Juan González
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What were some of the most interesting points from chapter 4 of Juan Gonzalez's Harvest of Empire?

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Each reader will be interested in different aspects of chapter 4, in which author Juan González discusses his Puerto Rican heritage. Some readers may be drawn to the material about his personal identity and family background, while others will be more interested in the broader context in which he locates...

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Each reader will be interested in different aspects of chapter 4, in which author Juan González discusses his Puerto Rican heritage. Some readers may be drawn to the material about his personal identity and family background, while others will be more interested in the broader context in which he locates his own story. Some of the interesting material pertains to the magnitude of Puerto Rican migration from the mid-20th century onward. González reveals the struggles that many people faced in New York, including misinformation about their national identity and the dominant society’s efforts to impose assimilation.

The author points out that lack of opportunity on the island motivated many people to migrate to the mainland. He also mentions that the large number of Puerto Ricans who arrived in the Northeast, especially New York, represented a major shift in the U.S. The American Latino population had formerly been centered in the Southwest, and this demographic consistency was changing. He associates both the speed and numerical influx with the misunderstanding, rejection, and even violent conflict they often encountered. As a schoolboy, state-sponsored assimilation included English only policies, and González regretted the loss of his Spanish linguistic heritage.

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