Posted: August 12th, 2013
Summary and analysis of PROLOGUE chapter in AMERICAN CHICA by MARIE ARANA
Marie Arana grew up in her father’s care and learnt the Peruvian traditions. She was taught the appropriate means of conducting herself as a woman in comparison to the modern trends that were westernizing their traditions with an aim of fitting in or blending with other communities. However, in her mother’s American home she learnt new things such as the bailey to use a gun, breaking a horse and slaughtering a chicken for a meal. This is an express indication of the intricacy of her childhood as she was immersed into varied cultures, which she sought to understand and become assimilated due to the demands of both of her parents and her upbringing.
The prologue of his books enables the audience to understand the delicate situation in terms of balancing between two cultures, which still a young individual. However, she was later to understand that she was essentially a hybrid American because her cultural identity was divided between two cultures. This collision between her ancestral culture and her new home in the United States brings about the definition of the term “American Chica” because of the collision of a Southern American culture and a North American culture. The emphasis brought forth by this book is the presence of differences or diversity between two cultures, the Peruvian culture and the American culture.
Peru is depicted as mystic land; with a deep history rooted in mythology as well as it is earthquake prone. This is compared with the area, which Arana settles in the prairie lands in the state of Wyoming. In the rich terrains of the prairie lands, she provides her experiences in settling with her grandfather, her grandmother together with the rest of her parents and family. The blend of her family into the rich colorful setting, given their deep Peruvian roots, provides an express indication of the need for assimilation of the Peruvian natives into a new culture in the United States. This is an indication of the necessity of the two cultures to blend through assimilation.
Additionally, this also indicates the changes in terms of the social; trends towards multiculturalism as numerous people immigrate to the United States with an aim of escaping poverty in their native countries to live the American dream. There is also an indication of the will by Arana’s parents to overcome the existent boundary between themselves, which is brought about by their respective adherence to cultures. Her father is a strict man who follows Peruvian tradition to the latter given that he arrived in the United States as a native Peruvian. On the other hand, her mother has already been exposed to the cultures in the United States and thus she is liberal in terms of thinking and exercising her free will.
Arana’s father is gifted engineer whereas her mother is a gifted musician, which is also used to indicate the diversity existent within Arana’s family. Despite their varied fields of specialization or talents they are able to compromise given that they are brought together by their respective ideals abut family, love for each and other as well as respect for each other. The two have managed to put up with each other for more than half a century irrespective of their cultural inclinations. They have been able to overcome such barriers to keep the family intact.
Conclusively, Cultural tolerance is an important issue, which is the predominant theme in the book to indicate the dire need for tolerance between people. It also indicates the possibility of coexistence in familial settings irrespective of the cultural origin or adherence by individuals in marriage or family. Hence, the issue of multiculturalism takes over the new society as people seek means to ensure that they are bale to coexist amongst each other in peace. Family values are similar in numerous aspects in all cultures irrespective of the differences between cultures.
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