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Crossing the Border Explicatory Essay


Eduardo Machado’s Crossing the Border is a play that depicts two cultures, and a great desire of a person to be a representative of another culture. On a late afternoon in Playa Carmen, Mexico, a father and a son play baseball. At first you would think that this is a normal outing of a father and his son. Manuel tells his father how good he is in school and that he can write, do physics and read poetry.

Jacinto, a father, does not want to hear how good his son is in school as he wants him to practice hitting a baseball. Jacinto believes that the only way for his son to be successful is by forcing an American culture upon his son and stopping him believe in his Mexican culture. Presenting Mexico as a poor country, the author wants to show how many people search for a better life in America omitting the best possibilities they have in the country they were born.

The play presents two opposed opinions of a father who is sure that they were born in a wrong country and it prevents him from being successful and his son who insists that the place of birth does not play any role and that only the attempts a person makes matter.

Manuel shows up in the alley trying to tell his father how well he can write and that the teacher can help him to win a contest. Manuel is sure that it is possible to become rich and successful by means of personal knowledge no matter what nationality one is. Manuel does all possible to find his place in this world using personal knowledge, trying hard and doing all possible to know more as he sees education as the main way out of the poor condition he lives into.

Manuel’s assuredness in education importance is fair and open. Telling his father abut his success he waits for support and assistance. Manuel puts on education and he cannot understand his father who does not consider education as the way out of poor condition. This is the main difference, the main point for arguing between a father and his son.

Jacinto, Manuel’s father, does not want to hear what his son has to say about his success in studying. He wants his son to hit the ball. Surprised by what his father says to him Manuel responds with a question “That’s all you gotta say?” (Schakel, Ridl, and Hansberry 909). He is really surprised and it seems that the son does not know how to react.

Telling their parents about success at school children wait for appraisal and assistance. Being poor, Manuel is sure that his father is going to be happy that his son has good progress and his careless attitude astonishes. The only response Manuel hears is about the promise to hit the ball. Jacinto asks his son about all the subjects his son likes in school and then tells him that none of those things will get him out of Mexico.

The difference in consideration of life principles is the main theme of the play. Jacinto is sure that the only way to lead a successful life is to leave Mexico and become a citizen of the USA. Jacinto is sure that no matter what one does, it is important to live in the correct country. The father is a person who is sure that the place of birth plays an important role in the live of a human being.

Being born in a wrong country they are unable to be happy and the only way to lead a normal life is to escape from it. Jacinto is sure that this is the place which makes them poor and having left it they are going to be rich. His son has another point of view. Manuel is sure that the place of living does not have any difference, it is important what one does to be rich and successful. The son is sure that this is not the place that makes people poor but their own actions and to overcome the poverty Manuel wants to study hard to become successful.

Manuel and his father continue with a conversation while at the same time trying to hit the baseball his father pitches to him. Jacinto does not want him to try personal knowledge in the country they live because he believes that if Manuel only tries to work there he will end up where his father is.

The only way out for Manuel is to hit the ball. The ball and the baseball as a whole is represent the USA. If Manuel manages to hit the ball, he will be able to become an American and to lead a successful life in the USA. Jacinto is sure that being aware of the US culture is one of the main steps on the way to successful life. If only Manuel could hit the ball, he would have a chance to be successful, in Jacinto’s opinion.

Having got to know that his father goes to work just to satisfy his responsibility before his family Manuel is confused because he believes his father’s job is a nice and respectable one. This is the place when the reader finds out that Jacinto hates his job. He drives tourists around all day especially Texans who cannot afford to go anywhere else except for Playa Carmen, Mexico. Jacinto consider Texans as those who do not deserve his time spending, however, he must do it because of his family.

Jacinto tells his son that his job is something that he has to do because he has a son, two daughters, and no other way out. He did not choose to be a tour guide it is what was available for him in Mexico. It is hard to understand this for Manuel as he is sure that the opportunity to work gives people a chance to become successful. People are to study and work hard to live better, this is the main consideration of Manuel.

The reasons of the desire of the father to make his son leave Mexico become obvious when we get to know that Jacinto did not make it to America when he had a chance to with his brother. Unrealized personal dream is the main reason why Jacinto wants his son to leave Mexico so much.

It is natural when parents try to realize their unrealized dreams through their children. In most cases parents do not ask their children what they wants taking as granted the fact that children must want the same things as they did. Jacinto had a chance to go to America and he lost it.

He is sure that everything would go another way round if they were born in America, “Cause we were born in the wrong country, at the wrong time” (Schakel, Ridl, and Hansberry 911). Manuel failed to make his come true and he blames himself in it. He is sure that everything would go another way round if he went to America. Being one of the main delusions in Jacinto’s life, this fact does not give him enjoy what he has.

Making personal interpretations of what the play depicts, it is possible to state that I am on the side of Manuel who considers everyday training in hitting a punishment. The father’s desire to teach Manuel play baseball will give nothing if he does not want to play it. Manuel is sure that no matter where a person lives, it is important what attempts he does to live better.

Jacinto is poor and dissatisfied with his life because hi did nothing but felt regret during the whole his life. The assuredness that if one can play a sport especially America’s game, he/she can be a very successful person is the only way for success for father. Manuel has another point of view. He is sure that human success depends on the attempts people make, not on the place they live.

It is possible to be the most successful person with good knowledge in the poorest place in the world and it is a good chance to be the poorest person in the most luxury place. I am sure that nothing changed if Jacinto went to America, he would find other barriers on the way to success.

Works Cited

Schakel, Peter, Jack Ridl, and Lorraine Hansberry. Approaching Literature, Reading Thinking Writing. Boston: Bedford/st Martins, 2011. Print.

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"Crossing the Border." IvyPanda, 18 Nov. 2018, ivypanda.com/essays/crossing-the-border/.

1. IvyPanda. "Crossing the Border." November 18, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/crossing-the-border/.


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IvyPanda. "Crossing the Border." November 18, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/crossing-the-border/.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "Crossing the Border." November 18, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/crossing-the-border/.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'Crossing the Border'. 18 November.

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