chapter 2 “ thee impersonations ,” H u m a n i t i e s

chapter 2 “ thee impersonations ,” H u m a n i t i e s

Answer the following questions thoroughly. Each response should be at least one paragraph and be supported by passages from the book (textual evidence)

Chapter 1

  1. The United States has often viewed itself as a great “melting pot” in which people from various countries and cultures eventually melt together and become “American.” How might the Rodriguez family’s experience in the United States serve as an indictment of this view? In other words, how might their actual experience (as depicted in the novel) render this idea of a melting pot false?

Chapter 2

  1. “Thee Impersonations,” the club or “clica” Rodriguez creates with other boys is “how (they) wove something out of the threads of nothing.” Rodriguez also goes on to say it “was born of necessity.” What does he mean by this? How is the entire episode representative of the way certain youth join gangs? What motivates or drives them to do so?

Chapter 3

  1. How might the greater American society be viewed as responsible for the creation of its gangs? Are people products of their circumstances and environment or are they entirely responsible for their fate? Is there such a thing as free will or are we merely reacting to our circumstances and environment?

Chapter 4

  1. How is Mark Keppel High School a microcosm of American society? In other words, how does the social structure of the school reflect American society?
  2. Discuss the irony behind the fact that the “Anglos” in the book are so eager to celebrate the “Fiesta Days” event commemorating the San Gabriel areas’ Spanish-Mexican heritage. Describe the difference between how the whites celebrated these days as opposed to the Mexicans.

Chapter 5

  1. On page 113, Luis declares that by 1970, he “felt disjointed” and “out of balance,” tired of “just acting and reacting.” He then goes on to state that he wanted to “flirt with depth of mind,” learn more about his “world” and “society” and particularly “about what to do.” What does Luis mean by all of this? What does he mean by feeling “disjointed” and “out of balance”? What does he mean by “flirt[ing] with depth of mind” and learning “about what to do”?
  2. Interpret the following quote from page 113:“I had certain yearnings at the time, which a lot of us had, to acquire authority in our own lives in the face of police, joblessness and powerlessness. “What What yearnings do Luis and the other youth have exactly? What type of “authority” is he talking about? What about the “powerlessness”? How do these feelings lead into gang life?

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