To help you with this project, please focus on two major charactersEsperanza Colon and Don Chanwho represent in the novel the complexities and difficulties, as well as the hopes and dreams, of the immigrant experience in the U.S. Moreover, to help you get started with your analysis (and establish key terms and concepts in your essay), I strongly suggest that you consider the following key points:
According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), emigration signifies the action of migrating or departing out of a particular place or set of surroundings. It also means the departure of persons from one country, usually their native land, to settle permanently in another. What does coming over mean to both Esperanza and Don Chan and why? Under what conditions are both Esperanza and Don Chan coming over to the U.S.? Is it entirely under ones own choice, will, or volition? Or, are there historical or political conditions or circumstances shaping or determining their emigration from the Dominican Republic? What things get carried over, literally and figuratively, when emigrating from the Dominican Republic to the United States (or New York/Nueva York)? How does coming over inform or shape being here?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), we can define immigration as the entrance into a country for the purpose of settling there. It can also denote how people enter and usually become established, especially to come into a country of which one is not a native for permanent residence (Merriam- Webster). What does being here actually mean for both Esperanza and Don Chan? What is the being in being here? What is here? Is it a place of hope and opportunity? Or, might it be a place of exile and separation? Is here simply a place or is it also a condition? How do both characters negotiate the pressures of acclimating or assimilating to a new place while also preserving or conserving their culture of origin? Does assimilation result in losing ones culture of origin, or is there an opportunity to carve out a third space or hybrid or mixed identity?
For this assignment, you must incorporate key passages (with explication) in the body paragraphs of the essay if you expect to earn a high (or, at the least, a passing) grade. Moreover, I expect all students to incorporate key passages from throughout the novel, not simply the beginning or the middle (or a small page range from the novel). Given that Esperanza and Don Chan are round and dynamic characters, you will need to consider each characters trajectory and development up to the end of the novel.
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