Barrio Boy Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 21 April 2017

Barrio Boy

Ernesto Galarza, born on August 15, 1905, lived in a small village of Jalcocotan, Nayarit, Mexico. With his family, he struggled and endured the Mexican Revolution which occurred during the early 1900s. His generation and their obstacles and triumphs are reflected in his autobiography “Barrio Boy”, making the book a worthy historical reference.

In “Barrio Boy” Ernesto and his family lived through a revolution in Mexico. They had difficulty moving from city to city. The family needed to start from scratch and often asked favors from relatives to have them stay in their house. Ernesto lived around many Americans and worked with and for them; he learned to get along with them, too. Ernesto only spoke Spanish. He attended an American school and learned a new language. Ernesto’s relatives supported him and helped him understand that although he was “jefe de la familia,” he still had to earn his high school diploma. Many Mexican immigrants struggled with language barriers even until now. They strived to adapt to the customs and routines of the North American society.

Ernesto and his family believed in a higher spirit and used the Virgin of Guadalupe as a medium and symbol for spiritual enlightenment. When a child of a neighbor was dying, the curandera was called. The curandera was a woman who practices folk medicine with herbs, ointments, rituals and a prayer. The faith of the patient was also important. The curandera continued with the ritual but unfortunately the child died in the morning. Still, the immigrants practiced their culture and traditions no matter where they resided.

Barrio Boy focuses on the feelings of Ernesto and reveals the ordeals and conquests the new Mexican American faces as he accepts new ideas without giving up his Mexican identity. The author also slowly dealt and adapted with the standards and traditions of American city life.

Reference:
Galarza, Ernesto. Barrio Boy. Indiana:University of Notre Dame Press,1971

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