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TWO FACES OF AMERICA

Carlos Bulosan

Thesis Statement:

The story is very relatable to the current social issues and problem occuring not only in the
Philippines but also in other countries.

a. Characters

Carl, Jose and Millar share the same experience in the story. These three are some of
the many overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who were treated unfairly by their employers.

The companies had drastically cut the wages: the year before, it had been thirty
cents an hour, but now it had been reduced to twenty cents.

Evidenced by the above statement that many Filipino workers in other countries
suffered social injustices. It is very relevant nowadays especially as we often heard, many OFWs
are being oppressed, treated unethically, or even abused.

Carl is the protagonist in the story. Based on his character, he has the attributes of a good
leader. It is best evidenced on what he said:

There should be a law against the importation of labor.

I believe then that agitating the agricultural workers was enough, but the next five years showed
me that a definite political program was also needed.

Based on the statement above, his character implies a sense of curiosity and
awareness. But it never stop there, he is a man with an action who thinks for his future and of the
other. It takes him courage and willingness to fight for their rights. He emphasizes the
importance of having a union. Carl leads everyone to speak up and take necessary actions to
what they are experiencing.

Carl is a dynamic character; from a very aggressive man in the first part to a
softhearted man in the end. See the lines he had been uttered below:

But his heart softens as he met Marian. the rich and political elite had already economically impoverished his family. Jose said it referring to what Carl said about his proposed law. He is very outrage to white people because of their employers and the cruel men. . President Franklin Roosevelt signed a special proclamation that led to an end of discrimination between Filipino and Americans. It can also be concluded that he is an educated person. Similar with Carl. discrimination and unhealthy working conditions in many of his workplaces. he is also willing to fight for their rights but Jose is more patient than Carl. But there was another white person. Carlos Bulosan. Carlos is also a socialist writer. so we will probably win some of our demands. Jose. and very active in labor union. In fact. who spoke fluent Spanish. Bulosan already suffered economic depression back then from his life in the Philippines to his life in America. They also both have the eagerness to fight for their right and a sense of leadership to make the world a better place to live on. came and explained to them the importance of the strike. Carl’s statement of having a change in law had already been worked on by Carlos in his real life but in different issue in the world. giving me food and place to rest.if we use enough pressure. When he was a child. prejudice. Through Bulosan. he respects and believes in the authority. the character of Carl can be directly compared to the life of the author. Just a moment ago I was beaten by white men. The time will come But we have a good president in Washington. At the same time. The same with Carl. Carl is very aggressive while he is unassertive. exploitation. Jose didn’t really play a major part in the story. a woman. Then in America. he experienced disillusioned by the violence. Carl and Carlos have suffered economic depression. Since the story is a semi-biography. which encouraged him to participate in union organizing with other Filipinos and various workers. It is evident in his statement.

Marian. Lester and three others are the antagonists. Millar. They are brutal and sadistic to Carl. Jose and Millar. They are the one who abduct Carl. Not everyone has given the opportunity to study the spanish language but only those who have the privilage to do so. a white woman is one of the protagonists. the same with Jose. the later is more dauntless. he possessed a flat character. I turned the other way. He looked up at me with frightened eyes. As evident in her statement. The character is silent when the scene is full of flogging. Millar is mentioned in the text several times but his character is not well introduced. These kind of authority is very relevant to our present situation where many innocent people are being killed because of extra-judicial killing. She lend a helping hand to Carl. “People may stab you at the back and ask why you are bleeding. it’s like him pleasing Carl to believe that he is not the one who pointed out where the two were. The way he looks at Carl. if compared with Carl. Thus. . Jake. which is a great evidence that he is an elite person. Lester. They are purely evil and have no mercy to the people they abduct. When the car started to move.” The quotation is very appropriate to Millar because he still denies the fact that he is the real reason why those abductors found Carl and Jose. and other abductors are also given that kind of authority by the employer of the three laborers. Policemen are given the authority to kill those people who strictly violated the law without due process. Jose and Millar. Seen in the text. pleading. It can be concluded in the description above that Millar is the cause of trouble for Carl and Jose. I looked down and saw Millar bleeding on the floor. Maybe Jake. As the saying goes. aching to him in the face. The man called Lester grabbed my testicles with his left hand and smashed them with his right fist Physical arms were used against the union-strikers. They made the life of the protagonist more complicated. She plays a major role in the life of Carl. He speaks in Spanish. wanting to tell me that he had nothing to do with our arrest. The company might want to punish them for degrading their reputation beacause of the labor strike.

The first side is the abductors. Eat everything and go to sleep. there will still be people who will help you rise up and continue to fulfill your goals. leaving him half dead. But a Samaritan. But on the other side. giving me food and place to rest. He went to him and bandaged his wounds. Two other characters can be compared and contrast. Like Marian. She was the reason why Carl change his mind about the white people. In the parable. he went to America. specifically in the state of California. There are people that will hinder you from aiming your goals and will do everything to drag you down. particularly in Seattle at the age of seventeen in the hope of bringing up his family from poverty. Following the system of many Filipinos during the American colonial period. The robbers can also be compared to the abductors in the story. a woman. Two Faces of America is a semi-autobiographical novel that has a strong tie to the author's experience. as he traveled. During the US Colonization. Poor boy. The character of Marian reminded us that in this world there are still people who are willing to help even if they will receive nothing in return. Carlos Bulosan . b. Carlos Bulosan and many other lowly Filipinos have a mindset that America is like a paradise that will provide them the promises of a better life. she gave him food to eat and a place to rest. there is this man attacked by the robbers. They stripped the man’s clothes. But there was another white person. Carlos Bulosan spent his youth in the countryside as a farmer. he took pity on him. As evident: Just a moment ago I was beaten by white men. came across where the man was. even though she didn’t know Carl. Setting The main setting of the story happened in America. beat him and went away. pouring on oil and wine. brought him to an inn and took care of him. The author wrote his book America is in the Heart during his stay in America and the book was published the year right after the US Colonization in 1946. Marian can be compared to the Samaritan in the Parable of Good Samaritan. Upon the arrival of the author in America. Then he put the man on his own donkey. The priest and the Levite saw the man but neglect him passing on the other side. and when he saw him.

The plans of Jose and Carl were destroyed and also the fight for the Filipino employees was ruined. The settings influenced the character's mood in the story in a way that Carl sometimes hope for an escape and sometimes loses hope to be free. Carlos Bulosan worked as a farm worker. stopping a few hours in San Luis Obispo to see how Ganzo was progressing. harvesting grapes and asparagus. In relation to the job of author. in reality. In the story. Compared to the life experienced by the author in America. The memory of my village made my mind whirl. we rushed to the station and slept in the bus until Salinas. particulary in the cities stated in the story. However. forty miles south of San Francisco. Any person under a complicated and inescapable situation will be uplifted by the memory of his hometown and will be wanting to return to his or her home. In the early morning. . I received a disturbing communication from Millar. the protagonist in the story. Jose and I took the first bus. and doing other types of hard work in the fields of California. it is not the place that will give a person a better life. but it is the person that will give his self a better life. Carl. it is far too close to the mindset that the majority of the Filipinos had. after a lenghty deliberation with Ganzo in his cabin. Trouble was brewing in San Jose. when Jose and I were in the backroom of a restaurant. was a leader in a labor movement together with Jose. This text was stated while Carl was being abducted by white men. Carl just thought of his village and suddenly he aimed to be free again. Suddenly I remembered that as a child I used to watch snow-white clouds sailing in the bright summer skies of Mangusmana. The timing of the story when the labor movement should started stop due to the abduction happened. longing for flight and freedom again. Carlos Bulosan spent his work in California. preparing a leaflet to be circulated. That night. In Santa Maria. In spite of his complicated situation. where I was working with Jose. five white men came suddenly into the room. the Filipino employees in San Jose work in the lettuce fields. evident in the text.experienced racism and was forced to work in low paying jobs. particularly in Santa Maria.

. We'll go to Los Angeles. Plot The kind of plot used by the author is a dramatic or progressive plot. but the companies imported Mexican laborers. The torturous act made by white men to Carl. it had been thirty cents an hour. but now it had been reduced to twenty cents. The story began by establishing the setting and conflict. where I was working with Jose. The companies had drastically cut the wage scale: the year before. financial. The Filipino workers struck. I received a disturbing communication from Millar. Los Angeles is the cultural. and commercial center of Southern California. Maria. Marian stated that she and Carl will go to Los Angeles after making a farewell look to her town San Jose. as evidence shown in the first part of the story: In Sta. c. The woods set a mood that is dark and full of danger to the point that no one will enter during the night. she said. The woods where the cruelty happened is believable in the sense that it is far away from the city and that no one will be able to notice that something cruel is happening. heading for the woods not far away. Marian wanting to go to Los Angeles City in the hope of the city will provide her the promises of a better life just like when Carlos Bulosan went to America.The driver turned off the road and crossed a wide beet field. We entered the woods and in five minutes the car stopped. Jose and Millar wouldn't be noticed by any people because it was in the midst of the woods in the middle of the night.

It is made using traditional markers to connect the change in the phase of the story . All right. blinded with pain. Jose used to say. Even though the story doesn’t begin the way other literary piece. it shows the social problems that exist in our society. The fight must go on. Then he came to me and kicked my left knee violently that I feel on the grass. It can be compared to the groups of people going to Mendiola to voice out their problems in hopes that the government may reach out to them. a falling action is shown. The protagonist find comfort as she finds a woman that helps him unconditionally. but the story doesn’t end there it leaves a feeling of dissatisfaction because of its open ended story. The man with the dark glasses started beating Millar. The kind of conflict used is man against society where he stands against a man-made institution. the author successfully conveyed what he really wanted to imply to the readers. There was only death at the end of the road. I would show them. The author used foreshadowing to narrate the first part of the story in order to create suspense for his readers and to hint where the story is going. I would go on with the fight. I was helpless now. The abduction gives rise to the story because it requires anticipation on the part of the readers what will going to happen after whether they will escape or die or perhaps live. Plot is arranged in the way it would directly show the purpose of the story. The change of sequence from one event to another is very rapid. The characters are forced to make moral decisions frustrated by social rules in meeting their own goals. The plot of the story depicts realism. For instance in the opening part. the readers would already had an idea that the story is all about social issues and problems. In the end of the story. I watched my companions: they seemed to have given up all hope. A rising action follows after the conflict through the climax.

At the beginning of the story. However. e. There should be a law against the importation of labor. But we have a good president in Washington. Marian suddenly represents the wramth and caring side of the Americans. Just a moment ago I was being beaten by white men. a woman. The theme was portrayed by Carl evident in the line. . giving me food and a place to rest. d. In the beginning of the story. These lines are. Another lines which describe the true emotions of the characters in the story. it gave him second thoughts about the white people. The dialogue between Jose and Carlo symbolizes eagerness to fight for their rights which lead to be the start of introducing the conflict in the story. The author used the dialogue to create a distinct characterization in the story which is helpful for the audience because it gives them insights to the storyline. people should not generalized that the act of one is the act of all who is similar to him. Jose and Carl had this conversation. so we will probably win some of our demands if we use enough pressure. Carl assumed that all white persons are cruel as employers to the Filipino workers and this claim was strengthened by the acts of the abductors. Dialogue/ Language Dialogue is important for the readers to really understand what the author wants to show and to help them reveal their identity or emotions in the story. These help the audience to feel and to visualize the happenings in the story. But there was another white person. The theme is best reflected in the title Two Faces of America. Theme People must never be fooled by what they see on the outside because on the inside its often a different story. when Carl met Marian.

In the story. Symbolism Symbolism is the concrete. I was being beaten by white men. f. physical features or identity. the author used the two types of symbolism: the concrete and created symbols. The true meaning of this symbol was conveyed by the author in the story in the following line: “Just moment ago. I was helpless now. Up! Goddamn you! Up! Jesus. Among the conventional are: Face This symbolism is very evident in the story as it is placed in the title. Furthermore. These lines were uttered by Carl which symbolizes and really reflect the pain he had suffered under those abductors. factual details that evoke ideas and emotions. but there was another person. hitting me in the jaw. It was better to die trying to escape than to wait for death. a woman giving me food and place to sit. Jose and Millar. It is a conventional type of symbol that are commonly connected to traits. The author also used lots of colloquial words in order to showcase the traits and behavoir of the abductors as they mistreated Carl. he’s a well-hung-son-of-a-bitch! Shall we burn this yellow belly? Scalp him! What about the other bastard? The colloquial words used by author are appropriate to justify the character of the abductors and to demonstrate that they are truly bad people and don’t have any mercy at all. The man on my right got out and pulled me violently after him. these words help the audience to feel the intensity of the happenings and to imagine the pain and misery that the abused characters had experienced under the hands of the abductors.” . In their words.

I got up and tried to run. the sun was rising. It is evident in the line: “I crawled in the grass slowly. The Woods Among so many places to plan the torture. it’s like there is no way of escaping. The night was clear and quite. This setting used by the author symbolized pain. Farewell look The farewell look made by Marian before she started to move the car going to Los Angeles suggests hesitations or hold back into something. That something inside Marian is holding her back in leaving the town. Faces of America means two kind of white people America has. There is no assurance of what kind of life is out there but by looking out of the car’s window.” Rising sun in the story symbolized a new beginning for Carl after what happened to them in the woods. When I reached the edge of the woods. Connecting to this is the story of Florante who were tied up in a tree in the middle of the woods where nothing was there but only his fear. White men who are harsh and cruel and white man giving warmth and tenderness in touch . Rising Sun This symbolism was used by the author on the last part of the story in the line: “I looked out of the window. the rays of the sun tells new hope for him. I hear their voices in the wind.Carl encountered this two different people in the character of the abductors and Marian. hopelessness and loneliness. hardship. . why the abductors took Jose. and death. A new life that is waiting for him in Los Angeles where he and Marian will go. anguish and pain. Looking back to the place before leaving it is like committing it to memory. Millar and Carl in the woods? The woods are usually consider a place of deafening silence and vast area of darkness that once you enter it.” Entering into the woods it’s like entering to a place full of fear.

First person point of view is effective in adapting easily what the protagonist feels through. Point of View Carl. g. There should be a law against the importation of labor. I said. first person point of view helps the reader understand the protagonist’s motivations/actions. I would show them. the transitioning of the tone is impressive starting from positive stable tone to a dark and gloomy tone and ends up with a spirited and powerful tone. The tone really makes the story more appreciative and striking to the readers. We’ll go to Los Angeles. the tone shows that the characters are valiant for they fight for their rights. All right. I would go on with the fight. the tone then shifted to fear and to agony for they have been caught and tortured by the white men I was helpless now. The fight must go on. Overall. Tone In the early parts of the story. she said. Jose used to say. I watched my companions: they seemed to have given up all hope. It should be included in the interstate laws. the story shows hope and resiliency. Being Carl as the narrator. it made the story full of emotions and feelings that the protagonist experienced. And in the latter part. the protagonist is the first person narrator. As the story goes. h. Therefore. It gives the readers the experience of being inside the character’s head. first person point of view creates intimacy and closeness between the reader and the character. There was only death at the end of the road. It also embodies a sense of believability because the protagonist himself has the first hand experience of the story. . The author maybe used this symbolism to show that sometimes people really make decisions not accordingly to what they really want to do but on what is really needed to do.

everyone must invest time and energy with a feeling of hope for the future instead of bitterness to such uncertainties. Jesselyn Villarin. a story that worth reading for.Conclusion: The story tells us that all of us should become aware to the social issues surrounding the world and take action in any way we can. “The old world is dying. but a new world is being born. It also longs for equality among diversity and asking for unity for the betterment of our society. quoted in the novel of Carlos Bulosan. and a story that could enlighten us about the real situation of our society. determination and hope. It generates inspiration from the chaos that beats upon us all. It is a story that every Filipino should take time to read. will charge the forces of out courage and determination. Ronalie Referrences: . the number of the dead and those about to die. The false grandeur and security. Despite of the suffering and abuses. the unfulfilled promises and illusory power. GROUP 6 Members: Abundo.. Joshua Padua. Sheena Monalyn Catindig.”. may be it small or big. The old world will die so that the new wold will be born with less sacrifice and agony on the living. Angelika Joy Gardon. Juliet Dela Cruz. the author. Two Faces of America is a story of suffering.

Wikipedia “Carlos Bulosan Biography” from https://en.org/wiki/Carlos_Bulosan Bible Getaway “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” from https://www.wikipedia.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+10%3A25-37 .m.

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