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Stephanie Maldonado Anne Graham Sociology 2630 25 April 2014

Always Running Book Analysis


Luis J. Rodriguezs book, Always Running is self biography about the gang and crime life. It is about when after moving from Mexico to America at the age of two, he grows up on the streets of Los Angeles. His childhood revolves around drugs, gang violence, police cruelty and racism against Mexicans. When he was 20, he had already experienced it all. He states, It never stopped, this running. We were constant prey, and the hunters soon became big blurs: the police, the gangs, the junkies, the dudes on Gaarvey Boulevard who took our money, all smudged into one. Sometimes they were teachers who jumped on us Mexicans as if we were born with a hideous stain. We were always afraid, always running. In the book you see how he talks in disgust when he describes the police, the fear and the pride. The book begins with him telling the story about his fifteen year old son running away from home after an argument he has with him. I believe this is where Rodriguez got the name for the book, because of his son running away and how he ran away too when he was younger. No matter how much running he does, he ends up back where he started, back to the gangs and trouble. The book goes back and forth to when he was young and to his sons story. It tells us all about

when he was a young boy living with his parents in a very poor neighborhood in L.A. It tells us stories about how his life started into crime and trouble. Toward the middle of the book it gets into his life when he was a teenager and his life in the gang life when violence was all about fights and how it developed into murders and wars. He tries very hard to get out of the trouble he is in, that he joins all these school activities. We also see how the life that he lived is catching up to him. In the end of this it goes into how he is still struggling but he wants to make a difference in his life so that his children wont live the same way he did. He talks about how he wishes he could do better for his son and for everyone in his family. He talks about his current life as a writer and what he had to do to get to this point were he is. It is mentioned how he wishes that some kid that is in a similar situation reads it and has a change of heart and turns away from the life of gangbanging.

The significance of the books title Always Running, I believe means how Luis felt like he was never safe or had a place to call home and was always on the run. Luis also felt that he had good future. In many situations Luis found himself running to get away from a problem he created. There is part in the book where one of the gang members drops the ball and runs. He heard the deputies yell to stop. They began climbing the fence. Rodriguez decided to run off too. Luis felt he needed to always lay low and stay safe, so he repeatedly watched his back and be cautious of the people he was surrounded by.

This was a great story and very worth reading. There is a variety of parts where he talks about his struggles with gangs, racism, and street violence. Racism was kind of the predominant idea of the book, and it felt like Rodriguez and his family had a lot of strength to overcome it. Racism is when one race believes they are better or superior then others. Race implies that groups that differ physically also bear distinctive emotional and mental abilities. These beliefs are based in the notion that humankind can be divided into distinct groups. Mexicans were treated unequal to other races; they used violence and fear to show their superiority to Mexicans. The way Luiss family and other Mexicans were treated triggered a sense of anger. The emotion of anger was shown because of the fact racism still occurs today, and that at the time Luis was only six and his brother Rano were nine.

It ties in with the book on chapter 10; Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans because it talks about how the most important organization or social institution among Latinos is the family. And Rodriguezs family was very important to him, he didnt want his son to live the same life he did, as a good father he wants the best. Familism is pride and closeness in the family, which results in family obligation and loyalty coming before individual needs. Life chances are peoples opportunities to provide themselves with material good, positive living conditions and favorable life experiences. It states that wars play a main part in Mexico. The United States was created as a result of the colonies war with England to win their independence.

The reason I really enjoyed this book is because it teaches a lesson about how you dont always have to stay in the same situation you are in. There are ways to get out of the life you are in. Reading this book wont give you the answers but it guides you through Rodriguezs life on how he overcame the gang life. Unequal to other races; they used violence and fear to show their superiority to Mexicans. The way Luiss family and other Mexicans were treated triggered a sense of anger. The emotion of anger was shown because of the fact that racism still occurs today, and that at the time Luis was only six and his brother Rano was nine. I experienced harsh racism when I was in 8th grade. I had a group of Hispanic friends but for some reason of wanting to fit in with the popular group, I began hanging out with some Caucasian girls. At first they were really nice to me and I felt accepted. But then when I got to know them I realized how much they hated black people, and Hispanics. Just because they werent the same color. I think about how can little 15 year old girl think in such a way. You would think it just adults who think nasty things like that. But it is because thats the way parents raise their children. I felt horrible about myself because I was part of that, I joined them and I laughed with them when they would make fun of people of my race and nationality. Today I can proudly day that I am proud of where I come from and where my family comes from. Trouble with gangs and drugs, Ive never had a problem there. I always stayed out of that. But I do have friends who have had trouble in that area. It is unfortunate when someone so smart and capable of great things throws their life down the drain. It is sad because so many people already have that life and it is so difficult to get out of, but like Rodriguez taught

us in his book, there are ways to get out of that life, to search for something worth living for. For him it was his son, his family.