America is in the Heart Summary by Carlos Bulosan

An Autobiography

This is an autobiographical representation of the author’s struggle in his own country of the Philippines and adopted country, the USA. The account begins with the author, named as ‘Allos’ as a five-year-old boy living on a farm with his father.

He seems to be frustrated at his fate and moans about the lack of opportunities to study and enjoy his childhood. Apart from toiling in the fields, he also aids his mother who sells fruits in the city.

Poverty & Deficiency

Even at a tender age, Allos realizes the trials of poverty and deficiency. As the country is gripped with Peasants’ revolt and protestations, Allos develops antipathy and hatred toward the unrest. He considers them greedy and dislikes their ways and means of protest.

He and his family hope to be free from the confines of poverty once his brother Macario completes his education and finds a proper job. This dream is realized when Macario gets hired as a teacher. However, it does not last long and he is let off from it.

Migration to America

Seeing the misery of his life in the Philippines, Allos and his brothers decide to go to America, the land of freedom and opportunities. They land on the American shores, believing in the American dream of property and equality for all.

Unfortunately, America is suffering from the Great Depression and jobs are at a premium. The condition is worse for immigrants who not only find it hard to land a job but are also subjected to abuse and discrimination by white Americans.

Allos Joins Protests

Allos is devastated to find his dreams were dashed and opts for a menial job at a farm in California. Having suffered enough abuse and deprivation, Allos decides to join the protests by labour organizations in order to secure some rights and freedoms. However, the movement fizzles out.

However, he and his friends decide to form a forum/ committee for the Filipinos to make a claim for citizenship and basic rights in the American lands. Their workers’ movement gathers momentum but their demands are not answered as they lack organization and strong leadership.

Allos Joins Army

However, Allos does not give up. Soon, World War II happens and America needs as many able-bodied men as it can get. Taking the opportunity, Allos and his organization again press for their citizenship demands.

This time they are answered as the Filipinos is conscripted and recruited in the army to fight for American flag, freedom, and safety. In the end, Allos reflects on his journey from a small village in the Philippines to the arena of World War II.

He remembers his perception of the American ideals of freedom, equality and liberty but laments the fact that he never got that freedom or equality.

He remembers how freedom is reserved only for a few privileged classes while the rest need to toil to even survive in countries like the USA. However, even with its flaws, he carries America in his heart and cherishes it as his home.