Gary Soto Essay

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The lifelong struggles of an American immigrant seems to be the road more traveled, Gary Soto’s The Elements of San Joaquin and The Tale of Sunlight show us the road traveled for immigrants faced with discrimination, oppression, and stereotypes. Mexican-Americans face a lot of difficulties in life through discrimination and such. Telling the lives of Mexican-Americans is what Gary Soto has done. He has told the lives of his own as if it was him living through the things those before him have. These two works of Gary Soto have two different emphases on them. Gary Soto was born on April 12th 1952. He was born and raised in Fresno California, to his working class Mexican-American parents and was raised with his older brother, Rick, and younger sister, Debra. He lived and worked in Fresno where he worked as a factory labor. His father was killed in an accident at work at the age of twenty-seven when Soto was just five. He did poorly in school and upon graduating he attended Fresno City College majoring in Geography. His decision to give up Geography came when he read the poem “Unwanted” by Edward Field. He married his wife in May of 1975 and earned his M.F.A. in creative writing in 1976 from the University of California, Irvine. In 1977 he began teaching at The University of California. In 1975 he won the Academy of American Poets Prize and the Discovery-Nation Award. (1) The Elements of San Joaquin focuses on Fresno in the 1950s, the agriculture of the community of San Joaquin. Dealing with the violence associated with the barrio life - a city area mainly inhabited by a Spanish-speaking population. More so, the harsh and desolated existence of life, farm life to be exact, and the opportunities denied many people who live in Chicago are reoccurring themes in his works. His short lines, to the point and sharp, are his characteristic in this line of poetry. Each
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