This paper "When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago - the Life of an Immigrant" focuses on one of the important characteristics of our modern world that are the increasing rate of intermingling between cultures, which on one hand leads to the positive growth of our awareness of the variety and diversity of cultural traditions and existing worldviews, but on the other hand creates tensions…
However, for people that had spent some part of their lives in different cultural and social environments, and, moreover, who had been formed as personalities outside our society, the task of integration can hardly be an easy one. Indeed, one of the biggest challenges for such people may, after all, lie in finding a proper balance between their status as immigrants, who would inevitably to a certain degree be faced with their perception by other people and even by themselves as in essence alien, and their new status as members of a new society, which with time carries them further and further away from their native culture, thus alienating them from it as well. Thus, this two-sided dilemma is perhaps one of the greatest challenges that immigrants have to find their own answer to, and on this answer to a great measure depends their future life and success. Luckily, there are ways to come out of this dilemma as a winner, and examples of such personal victories of people are worthy of our great respect. In this regard, we may turn our attention to the life story of Esmeralda Santiago, an immigrant from Puerto Rico who had passed through numerous difficulties to reach a prominent status as a writer and owner of a film company. I suppose that with the help of her autobiographical book "When I was Puerto Rican" we may immediately experience the challenges that we have discussed by taking a look at the life of an immigrant from her own point of view.
Esmeralda Santiago was the eldest child in the family and had ten brothers and sisters. She grew in Puerto Rico, and during her childhood due to family circumstances was changing her place of living between a village and a suburb of the capital of Puerto Rico. In 1961, when she was thirteen, Esmeralda Santiago with her mother and her siblings moved to New York. There, after having hard times attending school in Brooklyn, she managed to enter the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan, then graduated from Harvard University, and received from Sarah Lawrence College a master's degree. Now, with her husband and two children, Santiago lives in Westchester County, New York (Santiago 2006). Santiago summarized her outstanding years of life in several books, of which "When I Was Puerto Rican" is perhaps one of the closest to her concerns about the immigrant's dilemma of identity definition. Indeed, the past tense of the title of the book is immediately indicative of her mixed attitude to her past, and from the very opening pages of this autobiography, we as readers begin to understand why that is the case. The reason for this is the extremely vivid style of Santiago's writing, which perfectly fits the period of the childhood of every person as during that time life is perceived in a very special and bright way. That is why we can see already from the beginning of the book that the part of the story where the author describes her early years of life will never lose its influence on Santiago in her later life. What adds to it is the sheer exotics of the environment of Macun community the little Negi, as she Santiago used to be called, was growing in, like the house of her family that resembled "a giant version of the lard cans used to haul water from the public fountain" (Santiago 1994, p.7), or pernicious insects from which their house could hardly offer a decent protection as a few examples. ...
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(“When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago - the Life of an Immigra Essay”, n.d.)
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(When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago - the Life of an Immigra Essay)
“When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago - the Life of an Immigra Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.net/literature/278842-americas-dream.
The history of this island dates back to the 1st AD when indigenous people migrated to the region. These indigenous people were followed by people from Antilles and they together created a complex trading system. These people were together known as the Tainos later on.
The dominant culture in the region was the Taino’s but it died out with time due to exploitation by Spanish settlers not to mention wars and diseases resulting. Its major role was to host the military during the various wars between Spain and European powers.
(Solarnavigator.net, 2007) History of Immigration: Juan Ponce de Leon became the first overseas governor as he subjugated the island for Spain in 1509. The original dwellers of Puerto Rico were known as the Arawak. The Arawak were natives of Caribbean and South America who constituted the population of Puerto Rico at that time.
Puerto Ricans has led to development of American culture and economy through interactions, work and business activities. They have also been involved in civic participation. There are many ways in which Puerto Ricans have contributed to better policies. This is through protests, campaign contributions, lobbying, and voting.
The culture has also incorporated elements of the African peoples as well as the culture of other immigrant populations. The regions neighbour, the United States has also had a major influence on the islands’ cultural, economic, and linguistic elements.
In their migration to the United State, Puerto Ricans left their own homeland with a unique culture and traditions, and their transition involved various cultural crises and emotional adjustments faced by most immigrants. Their migration experience is evident as internal immigration – as an experience of immigrants within their own territory, but their new settlements lie outside their emotional homeland.
The author describes beginning of the land offensive, when the United States Navy attacked the archipelago's capital, San Juan. He states that though the damage inflicted on the city was minimal, the Americans were able to establish a blockade in the city's harbor, San Juan Bay. Then a state of civil disorder existed in the island's mountainous region.
There is much to be said about the astounding and inspiring author Esmeralda Santiago. Yet the praise would not amount to that which her book When I Was Puerto Rican as received. However it goes without saying that the author and the book are a unified force.
The excitement in my young mind at the time did not allow me to think beyond the good life that I dreamt of enjoying in the US. I had very high expectations, and even if my mother insisted that life would not be that