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Bulosan, Carlos. America is in the Heart. Seattle: University of Washington Press (1943; last reprinting 1984). 328 pages. NOT IN
Format: paperback; Ethnicity: Filipino American
America is in the Heart is Carlos Bulosan's heartwrenching account of a Filipino American's experiences as a migrant laborer in
the West. The book has long been considered a classic of Asian American literature, as it not only captures the harsh realities of
the immigrant experience, but was one of the earliest published works that presents that experience from an Asian American
perspective. Bulosan, a writer and labor activist, is also considered a hero in the struggle for justice for immigrant and working class
Bulosan describes how the intense poverty of Philippines led his protagonist Carlos to come to America only to be faced with
racism and economic exploitation. Working for little pay in the salmon canneries of Alaska and facing racial violence as a migrant
farmer in the western U.S., Carlos begins to question his earlier notion of America as a land of opportunity. At the same time, he
begins to understand that the oppression he faces as a Filipino American is rooted in the same forces of institutional racism that
oppress other minorities in America. His revelation leads to his belief in uniting collectively to fight for social justice. Armed with this
knowledge, he takes on the role of a union organizer and later a writer.
In teaching America is in the Heart, there are many misconceptions of the book that teachers should be aware of. First, the book
should be looked at as a work of historical fiction-though Bulosan often draws from his own personal experiences, it is not an
autobiography. Second, given its uplifting conclusion, the book has often been interpreted as an affirmation of the American Dream
rather than a critique of it. Teachers should be careful to look at the myth of an “American Dream” as

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