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Literary Analysis of 'Angels in America'

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A New York article published in 2006, attempts to persuade readers that all immigrants, no matter their origins, should be accepted by Americans. “Angels in America,” written by John Tierney, goes on to say, although most U.S. citizens’ ancestors were at one-point immigrants, today they fail to give any concern for new migrants. Tierney makes the point that Mexican immigrants are no different from other immigrants. He questions why it is so difficult for someone with Hispanic, Latin, or Chicano provenance, to become a legal citizen of The United States.

In Tierney’s first few paragraphs, he makes a correlation between the main character, Angel Espinoza, and his Irish grandfather. First, comparing their lifestyle; At arrival, they made little money, but over time made their way to “better-paying jobs.” They both then married legal U.S. citizens. Unfortunately, unlike Tierney’s grandfather, Espinoza couldn’t settle. In fact, Espinoza was likely to be transported back to his home country.

“I work hard and pay taxes and don’t want any welfare. Why deport me?”, says Espinoza. (Tierney page 1) Tierney quotes Espinoza because he too has the same question. Sadly, by making the decision to enter the U.S., even though he was already worded off, he technically did break the law. He was given “in order to stay out.”, and because he didn’t do so he’s now a “criminal”. If there aren’t regulations for other immigrants, then there shouldn’t be regulations for Mexican immigrants too, Tierney argues. If his grandfather was so easily accepted then why is it so arduous for Espinoza, and other Mexican immigrants to become U.S. citizens? These are one of the many questions Tierney struggles to discord.

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One of the many stereotypes about former Mexican citizens is that they will be unlikely to understand and isolate themselves because they’re near their home country. Another stereotype is that their children will receive low grades in school, and eventually grow up in the lower class. Tierney disproves this by talking about Espinoza’s life. Espinoza goes from making barely minimum wage to seventeen dollars an hour. He and his wife buy a house for about two hundred thousand dollars. That would put Espinoza in the middle class. Even though Espinoza’s first language is Spanish, he continues to learn and speak English. His daughter on the other hand, only in her first year of school, is already speaking English. Tierney continues to speak on these stereotypes by saying, “No matter where they live, their children learn English.” This means that no matter how close immigrants are to their homeland, their children grow up to speak the dominant language in the country, which is English for America. Just as any other immigrant would, rather from Europe, Africa, Mexico, etc. Their children will grow up to speak English.

Lastly, Tierney includes a few American viewpoints on immigrants, and what they think should be done. Tierney talks about the Senate, the Republican party, and an individual named Bobby Rush. A compromise, letting almost all immigrants become legal citizens, seemed to be concluding with the Senate. Until the Republicans would only collaborate if there were regulations. Some of which could keep Espinoza from ever returning to America again. Fortunately, a Democratic representative, named Bobby Rush is trying to protect families from being split up. This shocks many “immigrant advocators and Chicago public officials” who are already pressing immigrant cases.

Tierney concludes by asking a series of rhetorical questions. He wants Republicans to explain why their ancestors are worthier than Espinoza. Why should Espinoza, and immigrants like him, be made to leave their families? Tierney asks. Espinoza even has his own set of questions he would like answered for his daughter. One of them states, “I would like them to tell my American daughter why her father can’t stay with her.” (Tierney page 3)

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Literary Analysis of ‘Angels in America’. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
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