In Gary Soto’s essay, “Looking for Work” he explains his fascination with the “perfect family” as a child. He watches television shows and wants his lower-class Mexican-American family to be a typical middle-class “white” family. In order for his family to achieve this he believes that money and wealth are the answer. Gary then goes around the block to find little jobs he can do.
He gets some money and then meets up with his best friend Little John who wants to look for work too. Gary then recalls how Little John’s mother got angry about how her son was asking for work. Dinner time rolls around and he thinks about one television show comparing it to his family. He suggests to his mother about serving some more expensive food and dressing up for dinner from now on. Gary’s ideas being ignored he is sent outside with his siblings and looks for work trying so hard to become wealthy.
This essay portrays how many first generation Americans feel about society. They believe that in order to succeed in America it is important to leave your heritage behind to become “white” and blend in. As if your heritage was a handicap and that you constantly have to try harder than everyone else to prove something. Being Filipino-American I am not exempt from this feeling. The media has played a big part in what I deemed normal as a child. I watched many television shows where families ate bread and dressed nice to dinner.
Unlike my family which ate rice every night and wore slippers to the table. At a young age I was embarrassed of what made me special. Social interaction with other children even made me think twice about who I wanted to be. I always felt I was never invited to some of my friend’s houses because I was Filipino. This made me try harder to win the affection and friendship of my classmates. This essay expresses the feelings that many first generation Americans experience on their road to acceptance.