Analysis of Barefoot Heart

1895 words 8 pages
Finding A Way Back
The term immigrant is defined as “a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence” (“Immigrant”). In her autobiography, Barefoot Heart, Elva Trevino Hart speaks of her immigrant ways and how she fought to become the Mexican-American writer she is today. She speaks about the working of land, the migrant camps, plus the existence she had to deal with in both the Mexican and American worlds. Hart tells the story of her family and the trials they went through along with her physical detachment and sense of alienation at home and in the American (Anglo) society. The loneliness and deprivation was the desire that drove Hart to defy the odds and acquire the unattainable sense of belonging into American
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As Elva’s sisters get older, they long to work outside of the community. Apa has strong Mexican pride and will not permit them to work in the Anglo world. They are unable to voice their opinions or desires while they are under Apa’s roof. Elva learned that there is no exception to this rule by example of her mother also. Her mother is portrayed as an overburdened woman with no little of herself remaining, sacrificing for her children, working in the fields all day, coming home to prepare the meals. Apa’s control of the family and Ama’s inability to gain her own control or self, has justified Elva’s sense of not being wanted. Elva tried to live up to standards set for her brother Rudy and gain her fathers acceptance in that way also:
I wanted my father to like me. I wanted my brothers to like me. Sitting at the base of the mesquite tree, I decided that no one would ever call me “presumida.” I would never forget my place. I would be what the men in my life expected me to be: a poor Mexican girl who knew how to be quiet. (110)
Elva’s role in the family was the simple chore girl who didn’t have much talent or skills: “I was the one who got out of the car to deliver the hot lunch. The bringer of hot tortilla tacos and cools salsa” (183).

Elva’s lost existence in her family made her want to succeed


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