California v.s. Mexico Essay

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The introduction to Richard Rodriguez's "Days of Obligation" is a comparison of Mexico and California by the author, a Mexican Catholic. He describes the functions of religions in Mexico and California and the differences in hope and optimism. In his introduction, Richard Rodriguez describes the emotional paradox he encounters as he is speaking about himself by comparing the comedy of California to the tragedy of Mexico. “The youth of my life was defined by Protestant optimism. Now that I am middle-aged, I incline more toward the Mexican point of view.” This quote describes the clashing cultures of Mexico and California (Protestant optimism) inside Richard Rodriguez. California is a comedy because it is a world of youth, where you can start off new and escape any problems of the past. As a youth, Rodriguez did just this and was more a part of the youthful Californian lifestyle. The youthful spirit that Rodriguez had is California and the comedy of it. But, the middle aged man who believes…”that old men know more than young men; that life will break your heart; that death finally is the vantage point from which a life must be seen” is reflecting the Mexican side of him, who portrays qualities of his father and clashes with the more youthful mind of his past. In closing, Richard Rodriguez begins by speaking of two clashing cultures and two clashing identities of the United States and Mexico. He labels the United States (California) a comedy where one can go be youthful, start anew, and essentially escape the past. Next, he clashes this culture with Mexico, saying Mexico is a tragedy and a place where the culture serves better food, less optimism, and as a result it is a happier place. In the end, we find that Rodriguez is using the comparison/clash to describe himself. Rodriguez was a youthful Californian who was defined by Protestant

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