Game Seven by Paul Volponi covers many of the essential questions about American Values and American Creed. The most prominent one, however, is the question of, ‘What is our American Creed?’ Game Seven follows Julio as him and his family struggle with the consequences of their father’s decision to defect to America to live a better life. This includes their name being forever tainted, and making it harder for the family, (Julio especially) to live normal lives doing what they want to do. This accumulates half way through the book when Julio and his family have to decide whether or not they want to also defect to live a better life then the one they’re currently in. Although for the majority of the book, Julio isn’t even in America, much less an American. Many of the values and feelings he goes through can aptly be described as common American beliefs. And the one I want to focus on is the question of, ‘What is our American Creed?’ What defines the American brotherhood?
Soon after each family member makes their decision on whether they will defect or not, Julio eventually finds himself alone with his father. They get into a tense debate about the decision to defect his father made. His father makes his case to Julio. Some ideas similar to how Julio thinks, some ideas, however, are vastly different. I think this mirrors a real life problem with asking the question of American Creed because, quite simply, the American Creed is different to everybody, “‘…People’s ideas of what is America’s place in the world are so different from one end of the spectrum to the other,’ Jones said” (Vargas). It’s hard to say what the American Creed is because there is a notably thick layer of subjectivity in the question. Making the whole question seemingly unanswerable.
The idea of differing perspectives on America within America can actually be interpreted through Julio’s father’s character. Throughout the book, different characters give they’re own spin on what they think about Julio’s father. Some characters like Julio’s mother are more cynical of the father because the negative actions he has done and the selfish choices he has made. To the point where they have lost faith in him doing the right thing. “’Your father lives like a king while we struggle,’ Mama said. ‘Sometimes I think money was the reason he defected’” (Volponi, 23). While other characters are more optimistic on who he is and what he represents. “’It’s not about the money. I guarantee it,’ responded Uncle Ramon. ’…That was when we played for pride on fields littered with broken bottles…’” (Volponi, 33). All while Julio tries to navigate exactly how to feel, especially as more and more information is thrown into the mix. In this way the book acts as a great metaphor for how we as people, especially people uncertain on how to feel, look at America. America has its strengths, but it also has its faults, and deciding where you land on that spectrum is a hard thing to do. And those varying of feelings person to person make it near impossible to say with any precision what the American Creed is about.
Nevertheless though I think there are still key fundamental ideas of what it means to be apart of the American Creed. After all, shortly after the argument with his father, Julio has a (sort) of character arcing moment when he decides, even though he doesn’t agree or completely support him, he’ll stand beside him anyway. Despite the American peoples differences, we’re still here together. We still, despite our constant inner bickering, all want to see the best for America. “’We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.’ President Barack Obama” (Scism). And maybe, while the details on how we accomplish that vary from person to person, our American Creed is the goal to see the best of America show through. To hope for a better tomorrow, and to work for it, is what I think the American Creed is all about. I believe the American Creed is putting our differences aside and working together to create the best country America can possibly be.
Scism, Chelsea. “22 Inspiring Quotes About What It Means to Be an American.” The Daily Signal, 2 July 2015, dailysignal.com/2015/07/02/22-inspiring-quotes-about-what-it-means-to-be-an-american/.
Vargas, Jose Antonio. “What Does It Mean To Be An American?” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 4 July 2012, www.huffingtonpost.com/jose-antonio-vargas/jose-antonio-vargas-meaning-of-american_b_1647894.html.
Volponi, Paul. Game seven. Speak, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2016.Tags: america American Creed