When it comes to the concept of “America”, most people think of freedom and opportunity. According to Jose Antonio Vargas, the concept of being “American” means working hard and being able to accomplish honest work and enjoying life in America is a validation to be “American”. However, some people, including those that are part of our government, don’t view it this way. In the article entitled “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” this idea is addressed by Vargas who is an undocumented immigrant and he shows us the relationship that is found between an immigrant and American citizenship. Vargas states “I convinced myself that if I worked enough, if I achieved enough, I would be rewarded with citizenship.” In other words, Vargas believes through his hard work, he will eventually be able to be granted citizenship. Vargas uses his life journey and experiences as a successful journalist as a way to explain his perspective of someone who lives in America, while hiding his “true identity” to be able to be accepted by others around. From my perspective, this source portrays America as a place of opportunity, but also a place where legal status is a major part in one’s identity and lifestyle.
In contrast, Antonio H. Hernandez defines America as a place opposite from being a land of opportunity. The ideas found in Hernandez’s upcoming statement emphasizes the feelings many immigrants might have while living in this country. “People say this is a land of opportunity, but a lot of the time there are no opportunities, no jobs. And if you’re an immigrant you don’t get paid as much, and if you go to the hospital sometimes they won’t take care of you. An American with papers has more opportunities than an American without.” This is a powerful example that illustrates the injustices undocumented immigrants get when coming to the United States. Basically, the author is saying that America isn’t what many people perceive it to be and there can be many misconceptions on what it’s like to be an immigrant in America. I think there is a lot of truth in both sources because it’s coming from real life experiences and it’s something that you can see that is reoccurring from both perspectives.
In my opinion, America means having an opportunity to do or become something you perhaps wouldn’t be able to someplace else. My experience as someone who lives in the Bay Area, helps me see “America” as a multicultural, diverse, and welcoming place. However, this also, in a way, affects my experience and views of America because the Bay Area and especially Berkeley, is a very liberal area and I know that it’s not like this in other parts of our country. However, also living in the Bay Area gives me hope that one day our county will be able to fully embrace all who reside in this country, and give everyone equal opportunity and rights. I find the arguments outlined above to be an example of the advantages and disadvantages of our country, as the sources were based off of people’s experiences who immigrated to this country. American Literature can be defined as literature that apprehends the American experience of all and flourishes the American identity. In the book “There There” the author focuses the narrative of the story to be about the experience of American Indians in today’s society. The novel highlights the oppression American Indians have experienced ever since colonization and how it continues to affect them to this day.
“My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” Article