Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 216
Pocho's plot centers around the familial and inner conflict that plants itself between tradition and modernity, self and society, and nation and global hybridization, when its protagonist, Richard, moves with his family from Mexico to the United States. In many ways, Richard's development as an individual is contingent on his passage through unfamiliar American institutions in which he gradually learns to internalize its social norms. Yet, the older members of his family are concerned he wants to jettison important values, including a rich national legacy and emotional attachment to Mexico.
In Richard's mind, rejecting parts of his Mexican heritage is a rational decision. He opposes his parents' seemingly unquestioning adherence to religious metaphors, and the "macho" gender role expected of him as a young man. However, Richard also struggles to find viable models in American culture, which often categorically rejects immigrants as inferior, unintelligent, and destined for pointless manual labor. He also internalizes the imminence of World War II, which embodies a senseless devaluation of both of the nations he loves. At the end of the novel, Richard obtains a strong sense of self not by adopting the value systems of any singular nation or model, but by deciding to become a writer, symbolizing the individual's ability to live a life that departs from cultural expectations.
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