Themes and Meanings

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Leaving Home is an examination of poverty, racism, and the family. García presents a group of related individuals in the midst of a changing society. Hispanics had begun to achieve equal rights in the 1940’s but were not yet considered to be equal to whites, and hostility against them remained. Not all the characters in the novel want to break away from traditional lives of working all day and drinking all night. In his novel, García shows a family of diverse personalities. Adolfo was born with talent, a cruel fate according to Maria. Because of his ability to pitch well, Adolfo is able, temporarily, to rise above the expected poverty of his race. His experiences as a famous pitcher cause him to continue to seek better things for himself and his family. After his baseball days, however, Adolfo is never again able to rise above poverty. Maria, on the other hand, is willing to accept her fate. She believes that she should not ask for anything more than she has. She cannot understand Adolfo’s pride. When she helps him find a job, it is clear that she does not see a job as a measure of a person’s worth.

García presents the plight of farmworkers and those forced to live on pensions. Farmworkers work long hours, yet make barely enough money to live on. Maria lives next to a dump where the children use old tires for toys. Adolfo is not surprised by the shabby furniture at Antonia’s house because that is what he is accustomed to. People do not...

(The entire section is 494 words.)