Upon reading the short story, Puertoricaness by Aurora Levins Morales, it was a story that deeply hit me close to home.
We witness out protagonist now within the United States and how she is split between this home and the home she had once lived in but she to leave behind. After years of being away from home, she had no choice but to keep the other half of herself locked away. How the narrator mentions how something as simple of a roaster crowing at 6 in the morning, which would make anyone else in that town of Oakland groan in dismay, while it makes our protagonist awake something deep within her; a part of her that has been as sleep for much too long. Then bit by bit this other half slowly emerged to make herself known. She begins to let out bits of her accent, making her tone of speech distinctive to a Puerto Rican’s. ‘Unable to speak the word which will surely come out in the wrong language.’ At this point she is no longer able to find her other half, bit and pieces of it try to make their way out as she began to become indulged in nostolgia as she misses her home.
This is an example of how the pressure of American life forced her to hide the best qualities of her, something our protagonist should be proud of; her culture, her heritage, these things that help shape this half of her.
We see how this young immigrant slowly alienate herself of what she truly was in order to live within this new American society. And while it shows she gained new North American qualities that had also played a crucial part on shaping her identity, but it had sadly over showed her original form. But we then see how she finally let’s out this other half, yet she finds balance with these two traits despite them being polar opposites, but it is these traits that create who she is, her Puerto Rican blood along with the experiences she gained in America. And she wears this Puertoricaness as a proud badge for all others to see.
My mother was once an immigrant from Colombia, and everyday she would mention of the wide endless pastures by the farm, the healthy animals she helped raised, and the simple yet pure life she lived where everyone new each other, neighbors behaved as brothers. The delicious food and beautiful language. But after she had arrived to America, she had no choice but to hide that all, all that build who my mother is. And while even now she laments her beautiful home, she uses her experiences in America that lead her to the life she has now, but reached a point where there was no need to keep away the Colombian farmgirl. Instead my mother gained the best if both worlds and believed there is no shame to be a Colombian in Nother America.
This story can be an experience in which countless immigrants have had, many like my mother, like the students within City Tech, like a large portion of people here in North America. But the protagonist had learned to never forget where your home is, the people you’ve met, and your heritage, to love your origin even when you move away to a new home. Those traits are both sides of the same coin.