America Is in the Heart

Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart: Reconciling Postcolonial Conflict

America is in the Heart begins with Bulosan’s childhood and traces a difficult immigrant experience defined by poverty, rootlessness and illness and culminates in a remaking of his self through writing. As Rajini Srikanth notes, the novel is “curiously marked by a faith and idealism in the possibilities of the United States even as it relentlessly exposes the grim existence of Filipino migrant workers in the country”(98). It is curious indeed, that Bulosan should end his novel on an irrevocable note of faith as the novel is peppered with episodes of cruelty in America. His experiences in America are marked with ambivalence and rootlessness, characteristics that Paul White discovers is common within migrant literature because “the act of migration often relates to the calling into question of many of these aspects of identity that make up the individual’s personality and psychological self-image” (2). The novel distinctly occupies two spaces, the Philippines and America. Literacy and writing are important tropes that differentiate his experiential existence in those two spaces, and ultimately allow him to recreate the vision of America that he is comfortable with. Through writing, Bulosan negotiates a space for himself within...

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