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Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 250

Rodriguez's Days of Obligation is a collection of ten essays, linked by common themes. Rodriguez is a Mexican American, born in San Francisco to Mexican-American immigrants, yet coming of age in Sacramento. Many of the essays herein deal with themes of cultural assimilation and amnesia of religions tensions. As to the former, in his essay “Mexico’s Children,” he explains that California was once in fact Mexico in terms of the territory and has had a tradition of welcoming seasonal workers. California has since led Mexicans to forget about their mother country by means of its own distinct ethos of optimism and individualism.

In “Athens Once,” Rodriquez demonstrates the specific manifestations of this cross-cultural assimilation in the landscapes of San Diego and Tijuana. Tijuana has become a “Disney Calcutta,” (82). It’s “El Main Street” is a popular tourist attraction. San Diego, on the other hand, is plagued by the crime which used to be popular in Tijuana. Furthermore,
Children of upper-class Tijuana for school. Mexicans with green cards are heading to their American jobs. From the American side, technicians, engineers, and supervisors are headed to their jobs in Tijuana. The thirty-minute delay is in both directions. (83)
Both cities have been influenced indelibly by the other.
As to the last point on religion: it is not just a combat between Protestantism and Catholicism, but rather a dichotomy between individuality and the community, respectively. Rodriguez noted that Protestantism has become more evangelical as it has become more like Catholicism in its exuberance.

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