Hello Professor Hurley,
The point you made about the American Dream and the dream of the Asian parents for their children resonated with me. I used to live in San Diego but moved back to be with our aging parents( my husband’s and mine) in 2004. In 2014,we decided to move back when my son showed an inclination to continue his studies here in the US. I had to move, giving up a settled life and career and we have faced many challenges here. But in a way, I would not call it a sacrifice because I realize now that we moved as much for our sakes as for our boys.
Ika feels that life back in Phillipines is not as good as it is in the US; as she puts it, “Manila smells like cockroaches” and says to her children, “You should appreciate America I went there so you could be an American”(Roley 32). She feels herself to be Amercian and cannot imagine going back.When the boys are younger, they seem open to going back. Tomas says, “ We’re poor back home. Here, we are rich”(Roley 33).
Sadly later in life, she suffers for the very reason she moved and stayed here. Ironically, despite wanting an American life for them, she insists on raising them with her Filipina values and expectations of them being academically successful and dutiful. Maybe this is what the sons resent and rebel against. Tomas realizes this is how he can get back at her . When his mother makes him give back the wallet he stole from his uncle, he sits and watched TV in his room without doing homework “which is how he knew he could most hurt her”(Roley 24).
Another reason for the boys’ resentment towards their mother is her weak nature. The way she lets her husband taunt and bully her, the way she gives in to Uncle Benito in their fight over her mother’s pendant all these make Tomas angry. In his love for her, he picks a fight with his uncle and his dad. In her anxiety to keep up appearances she makes Tomas do things against his will( Roley 23). Her timidity makes him want to act tough as in that seems to be his defense against the world.
Thanks for bringing that point up.