Essay Book Review

1045 Words Jul 7th, 2008 5 Pages
The book, Honor and the American Dream: Culture and Identity in a Chicano Community, and the film, Salt of the Earth, both relay to their audience, the pursuit of happiness within the Chicano community in which they live. These works aim to show how Mexican-American immigrants fight to keep both their honor and value systems alive in the United States of America, a country which is foreign to their traditions. The Mexican-Americans encountered in these works fight for their culture of honor in order to define themselves in their new homeland, a homeland which honors the American dream of successful capitalism.
The author of Honor and the American Dream, Ruth Horowitz, takes us to Chicago’s Chicano community of 32nd Street in the 1970s.
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The consequences of racism in the United States can affect and therefore manifest itself differently among various American communities. This essay will look at the similar affects of racism among Mexican-Americans in two different social groups.
The Chicanos in Earth’s Zinc Town fight against discrimination in order to obtain their civil rights that should be afforded to them by the Constitution. Racism experienced in Salt of the Earth is much more prevalent and more openly expressed than it is in Honor and the American Dream.
At work, Ramon and the other Chicano miners are forced to take on the most dangerous jobs while working alone, while white miners were allowed to work in pairs, doing some of the less life-threatening jobs. The Chicanos become indebted to the company through high prices, as the only stores in the town are those owned by the company. Ramon and Esperanza, along with the other community members fight against verbal abuse and discriminatory practices in the working and living conditions they encounter on a daily basis.
In the opening scene of Salt of the Earth, at a small shack-like home, Esperanza tells of her sorrow. “This is our home,” she says. “The house is not ours. But the…

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