The Contrasts Of California And Mexico In Rodriguez's Work

In the passage, “ Days of obligation” by Richard Rodriguez he displays the contrasts of California and Mexico by expressing his emotions to show his different feelings between Mexico and California. Rodriguez as well expresses how he has evolved with the use of México and California being like mentors to him. This passage is also symbolic because California is portrayed as young while Mexico is mature.

To begin with in the first paragraph the author elicits empathy by stating, “Mexico play the tragic part; California plays the role of America’s wild child.” By saying this he is expressing his view of California and Mexico. From this comparison the audience can determine that Rodriquez views Mexico as a sad and suffering place while California is seen as a place with freedom. But later on in the passage Rodriquez states that he did not view California as a better place because of, “California is such a sad place, really – a state where children run away from parents, a state of pale beer, and young old women, and divorced husbands living alone in condos.” This goes to show how Rodriquez persuaded us that California is a sad and lonely place.

Furthermore, Rodriquez expresses how he grew up with these two places in his life. He talks about how he went from rebellious to submissive. Rodriguez does this by using “tragic” and “comic”. Tragic would be Mexico and this was a time when he was rebellious and had many sins, failures or he was rebellious. While the “comic” word would be his view of new ideas and new beginnings. Growing up Rodriquez had to be exposed to life with these two places and as he grew up he realized that without them he would have created his own person and personality with both places combined.

Lastly, Rodriguez’s different values and opinions from his youth evolved as he got older. The quote, “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.” Rodriquez states that he expresses the tensions in himself and in American life between Catholicism and Protestantism. Which would be the same as from optimistic yet realistic because growing up Rodriquez was exposed to a different religion point to view. The tone of the passage is very respectfully done because at the end the passage Rodriquez addresses that although there are flaws between America and México their differences make them who they are.

Rodriguez’s passage explains the flaws of both California and Mexico. But through it all he came into conclusion that Mexico being “tragic” and California being “comedic” allowed the sense of new cultures, generations and ideas to emerge from it either the food or the bad. Rodriguez was able to create his own identity using the help of these places, he was able to experience different cultures and ideals that he chooses to believe in his current life.  

07 July 2022
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