Photo © 2006 by Britt Selvitelle [CC BY 2.0]
Reading “No Speak English” in The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, a story about a family that immigrated to the United States, I could not help but be reminded of the current immigration crisis at hand and also ask, “why?” You see, there is a heated debate on both legal and illegal immigration crossing over the border to the United States from Mexico for better opportunity in life. One parallel between this story and real life is the fact that the father sent money home to his family across the border – Something that new President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to cut off in order to fund his wall.
Throughout history and even today, millions of immigrants have sought asylum in the United States, the land of the free, and home to the American Dream. However, “No Speak English” paints a very different picture to the outcome of immigration. Instead of rejoicing, Mamacita is constantly longing to go back “home,” crying to herself daily. Now that her entire family is together, one would think they’d be happy, but this is not the case. The family has actually grown evermore dysfunctional, the father becoming abusive, and the son being caught in the middle of it. This leads me to want to investigate into this topic further. Why is the book’s portrayal and the typical “dream” of immigration to the United States so different? When does immigration pay off for a family? What is the ‘American Dream’ and is it even attainable any longer?