False Expectations in El Norte The film, El Norte, opens introducing Arturo Xuncax and his wife


Need a rewrite on this paper ASAP Today…must be clean and passable, FREE from plagiarism. False Expectations in El Norte The film, El Norte, opens introducing Arturo Xuncax and his wife, Lupe, who live in the small rural village of San Pedro in Guatemala, with their two children Enrique and Rosa. Arturo and most of the people of the village work for a coffee-bean plantation, which is under the control of a heavy-handed foreman who oversees their productivity. The film suggests that Arturo and some of the other villagers are attempting to organize in finding solutions for better working conditions. Meanwhile, Enrique and Rosa’s grandmother speak of story’s and rumors spread among the Indian villagers, that life in the north, Mexico, is better and everyone there, including the poor, has a car. Arturo explains to his son, Enrique, on his way to a secret meeting, his philosophy of how he sees the world works, telling him “to the rich, the poor are simply a pair of strong arms.” Shortly after this profound statement by his father, Enrique discovers his father along with the others at the secret meeting, all having been killed by the military who’ve been hired by the plantation foreman. While attempting to cut down his fathers severed head from a tree, a soldier attacks Enrique, and in self-defense, Enrique kills him. The military then begins a manhunt for Enrique, as they round-up various other men and women of the village. When their mother is also taken away by the military for questioning. Enrique and Rosa decide to escape from the village and flee to the north into Mexico, as the promising rumors of the expectations of a better life for them is there. After borrowing the money her grandmother saved for her own journey to the North, Rosa and Enrique embark to the north themselves, where they will soon come to find out how true their father’s philosophy was, and arguably of the false expectations of there being an easier and better life in the North, El Norte. The first example in the film of Arturo’s philosophy of the rich using the poor’s strength for their own means, is clear in the foreman’s bribing one of the plantation workers into telling him where the secret meeting is being held. In this act of bribing the worker is symbolic to the plantation worker being the ‘rich’ in having power over the poor. Further evidence of the plantation foreman being symbolically of the rich, is given in his ability in hiring the military, another level of strong arms of the poor, being used to control the plantation workers. Once Enrique and Rosa are in Mexico, they soon find out that their expectations of life being better in the North are false. The rumors are proven false because like in Guatemala, in Mexico too, it is only those who are rich, who can afford to hire the poor, at poverty wages, using their strong arms for cheap labor. Enrique and Rosa meet Jamie, a Coyote, who tells them he can take them across the Mexican border into America. Once all three cross the border into America, Jamie attempts to rob Enrique. Enrique and Rosa fight off Jamie until they all hear a group of men coming towards them. Jamie runs off, escaping back into Mexico, leaving Enrique and Rosa behind. Taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol, Enrique and Rosa lie to the immigration officers, telling them that they are Mexican nations. Once convinced that Enrique and Rosa are from Mexico, the officers merely send them back across the board into Mexico. In this scene of the film, the border officers not only show power over the poor, in controlling their destiny whether to allow them to stay in the U.S. or send them back to Mexico, but they also represent the false expectations in the ease of seeking entry into America. In returning to Mexico, Enrique finally contacts a friend of a friend named Raymundo, a kindhearted restaurant owner who decides to help Enrique and Rosa make their way into America. After a grueling journey across the border through rat infested tunnels, Enrique and Rosa finally make it into America. Meeting them on the other side, Raymundo takes Enrique and Rosa to a safe house for illegal aliens. Monte, who runs the illegal alien motel, represents a lower form of the rich in the film. Enrique and Rosa must find work to pay Monte rent in staying at the safe house. Monte arranges work for Rosa at a textile sweat shop where she is given the task of ironing the newly made wardrobes. The owners of the textile shop are designers who use illegal immigrants for cheap labor. The film symbolically shows the designers as being the rich who use the strong-arm of the poor, illegal immigrants as cheap laborers. Enrique’s efforts in finding a job proves more difficult for him than Rosa. In not being as aggressive as the other illegal immigrants, passed up for even the menial of laboring jobs. Left frustrated, Enrique feels the pressure in figuring out what he needs to do next in finding work. Luck prevails however when in desperation a maître d’ decides to give Enrique a chance as a busboy at an elegant restaurant. In the scenes that follows, patrons of the restaurant are obviously the rich, whom use the arms of the poor in waiting upon their every whim. Yet the greater degree of abuse is found in the maître d’ of the restaurant, who knowingly hires illegal immigrants, paying them lower wages to than legal employees. The expectations of a better life in the north, as the rumors in Guatemala suggest, are evidently untrue for Enrique and Rosa at this point in the film. In a very short time, Rosa loses her job after fleeing from immigration officials who raid the textile shop. Not being able to speak English, with her new friend Nacha leading the way for them both, Nacha finds them both work as servants for a wealth woman. One of Rosa’s responsibilities in her new job is to use various electronic machines. However, Rosa nor Nacha have no idea in how to use the machines. Rosa decides as an alternative in not being able to figure out how to use the washing machine, she would hand wash the family clothes. In discovering that Rosa had hand washed her family’s clothes, the tender-hearted woman is upset. The woman tells Nacha to instruct Rosa she must use the washing machine, reasoning that she just cannot have Rosa doing such manual labor. The woman is does seem genuine in her concerns for Rosa in having to do such literal, manual labor. But it is clearly her own guilt in already taking advantage of both Rosa and Nacha, as she has knowingly hires them as illegal immigrants at deduced wages, far cheaper than any legitimate maid service she could hire. In this scene of the film, the expectations of work being easy to find and hold on to in the North is clearly false, as Rosa’s lack of an education and worldliness offers only difficulties in her struggling expectations of a better life in America. Meanwhile, Enrique, in proving himself as an asset to the restaurant, showing his ability in being a quick learner, is promotion to a waiter’s assistant. A jealous co-worker finds out about Enrique’s promotion but discovers that Enrique out is an illegal alien. In desiring the waiter’s assistant job for himself, he calls the immigration department on Enrique. It is only after losing his job with restaurant in fleeing from immigration agents, Enrique decides to accept an earlier job offer to move to Chicago. Enrique at first turned down the job in Chicago, having been promoted at the restaurant and not wanting to leave his Rosa alone. Now jobless, Enrique now feels he has no choice and must accept the Chicago job and leave Rosa behind. This situation in the film gives evidence of false expectation of a better life in America are false. The rich in using the poor shows in the Chicago woman offering to hire Enrique for the Chicago job, knowing he is an illegal immigrant which suggests she will be underpaying Enrique, but also shows her power over Enrique in that she is aware Enrique will be leaving behind his sister. Yet the Chicago woman is willingly tearing apart a family for her own benefit. Towards the end of the film, just before Enrique leaves for Chicago, he learns Rosa is very ill and in hospital. He choices to stay by Rosa’s bedside and not accept the job in Chicago. Rosa however succumbs to the high fever of typhus she caught from rat bites in the tunnels when crossing into America. Enrique now left alone and without any job, finds himself back at the laboring line competing with the other illegal immigrants for menial hard laboring jobs. In closing of the film, while digging a ditch at a construction work site, Enrique envisions his old home of San Pedro in Guatemala. He also sees Rosa at a large cemetery with many crosses on the ground waiting to the placed as markers for the dead, symbolizing the many poor yet to die as strong arms for the rich. In conclusion, the evidence reviewed from the film El Norte clearly shows how Arturo’s philosophy had come full circle for Enrique, in realizing that whether he finds himself in Guatemala, Mexico, or America, to the rich, the poor are merely a pair of strong arms. Which supports the argument, of the expectations of a better life in the north or anywhere in the world are false, under those conditions.

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