Journeys Essay

A Lifetime of Journeys Journey is an important theme found in Asian American
works. Although journey, by travel from one place to another is a common form of
journey, the journey through life in search of success is also an important
theme. In Asian American Literature, an anthology by Shawn Wong, who has been
recognized for his works ofpublished poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews there
are many references to journeys. Why does journey play such an important part of
the lives of Asian Americans? What kinds of journeys does the literature of
Asian Americans depict? What is the significance of journey in Asian American
pieces? Journey is important to Asian Americans, because like so many other
cultures, they too, are in search of a better way of life. The “American
Dream”, is what everyone desires to achieve. The opportunity to make a good
living and the freedom that America claims to offer is enough to entice anyone.

“The Blossoming of Bongbong” in Asian American Literature, by Jessica
Hagedon, who is from the Philippines and came to the United States in 1962 and
has published work, is about a character named Antonio Gargazulio-Duarte who
makes his way to America in search of the “American Dream”. Antonio, also
known as Bongbong, wanted to realize his dreams and felt that he would never
achieve them in Manila. ” Bongbong finally left Manila on a plane for San
Mobley-May 2 Francisco. He was deathly afraid” (Wong 203). Even though
Bongbong was fearful of what he might find in America, he was determined to go
after the opportunities he sought. Journeys take many forms in the writings,
plays, movies and art of Asian Americans. Journeys are taken from native
countries to America, from one place to another in America, and the life spent
trying to succeed or actually succeeding in their dreams. For instance, in Cathy
Song’s poem ” The Youngest Daughter” it says ” She knows I am not to be
trusted, even now planning my escape” (381). The child in this poem desires
escape from herself and her family, especially her mother. Then in the play
“The Music Lessons”, by Wakako Yamauchi, who is a second generation Japanese
American woman, she describes the suffering, hardships and the adapting that the
first generation and successive generations of women from Japan had endured in
the United States beginning in the early 1900s. Aki Sakata, who is a fifteen
year old female character in the play wants a better life for herself. She is
fearful she will endure the same type of hardship her mother was experiencing.

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Aki tells her mother ” I know about them and I don’t want to stick around
and become the kind of woman you are” (445). Aki believes that a much older
man then herself would provide her opportunity to escape the hard work of
farming that her mother must do to provide for her and her two brothers. Another
form of journey takes place in the movie Sister, Double Happiness, written and
directed by Mina Shun, when Jade who yearns to become an actress rebels against
her family’s morals and traditions. Her wishes to become an actress are
extremely Mobley-May 3 unacceptable by her father. Both her parents were
constantly trying to persuade her to explore something else. Jade struggles to
find her identity and to fit in. It was unacceptable in this family to move from
home before being married and if you did, as in Jade’s decision to do so, you
were disowned and denied a return home. Jade left her family to seek out her
dream and her father took her house key from her, so that she would not be able
to come home. Asian American’s Literature depicts many forms of journey and
they are similar to one another, yet they are individual journeys for
themselves. Journey is significant to Asian American literature, because of the
desire to succeed and fit in. This is something that I think everyone wants,
whether they are Asian, Hispanic, African American or of any other cultural
background. I know that I want to succeed and I want to fit in some where. Goals
are important and one must make a journey if they are to reach their goal. The
journey does not have to be a physical move from one place to another, it can be
a journey of the mind, but indeed a journey must be made. My step-grandmother,
who is from the Philippines made several journeys throughout her life and
continues to make journeys. She was educated in the Philippines where she
received her teaching degree. She came to the United States where she taught for
over thirty years at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California. It was
at this school that she received fulfillment in teaching Asian minorities. Her
teaching career ended shortly after a shooting that occurred on the play yard
where she was Mobley-May 4 scheduled to be on yard duty that day, but had
switched with another teacher. This act of violence, that was undisputedly
directed at Asians, was her sign that she would retire. It shook our whole
family up, that this could or would ever happen right here in our very own town.

She now travels the world seeing as many countries and places a year that she
can with her husband, who is Caucasian. The difference she made to the children
in that school took nearly a lifetime and I see the joy it has brought to her
life. Journeys take many forms and it is an important message conveyed in Asian
American literature, because it is something we all must endure to reach our
goals. I hope to make many journeys in my life down the road of success, just as
those of a minority background do. Journeys, however, are not always for the
best and they do not always turn out how they were planned, but it is the
journey which makes us stronger and enables us to learn from our mistakes. The
message of journey in the Asian American works.


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