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Written by Micola Magdalena
The first image Luis presents in the first chapter is that of his parents arguing in the car about whether they should remain in America or move back to Mexico. This image has the purpose of showing that while Luis was born and raised in America, he lived in a dysfunctional family where he saw his parents arguing and not agreeing with one another almost constantly. Thus, it is no wonder that Luis became attracted to a way of life that put him in the middle of danger constantly.
Happy white family
Luis had a tough childhood and he always used to compare his family with other white families he knew or with the depictions of the perfect white family. Luis remembers seeing billboards on which happy white people were depicted. This made Luis believe that he could not be happy because he was not white and that happiness was something only white people could have.
Luis remembers an instance when he was sent with his brother to the grocery store and that his brother got beaten up so bad by his fellow school mates that he began crying. Luis was not accustomed with seeing his brother cry and the image of his brother in a vulnerable state is important because it shows that while minorities may put up a tough face and pretend to not care about what happens around them, they are influenced by the way they are perceived by the society in which they are a part of.
In the late 90’, Los Angeles saw the rise of different gangs that appeared almost overnight. Many members were small children, looking for a place where they could belong and feel safe. The reason why so many gangs appeared was because certain groups, such as the Mexicans, were treated with violence by the police officers serving in the city. When Luis talks about the police officers, he rarely presents them in a positive way. Instead, almost every time he talks about the he mentions some type of violent act they did, highlighting the fact that the LAPD was an extremely violent group that pushed the Mexicans and other groups to form gangs as a form of protection.
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