Feb. 4 2013
In “Looking For Work,” Gary Soto provides a personal narrative that shows how discrepancies between images and the realities of family life can be confusing to a young child.
He recounts the confusion he felt when he compared his family to popular television shows as well as to families of some of his friends when he was young. Soto may have wanted his family to be similar to ones he saw on television because he felt marginalized by his school experience.
As he indicates, he and his friend Little John sat with kids who were slow. His teacher
“alternated the rows of good students with the bad, hoping that by sitting side-by-side with the bright students the stupids might become more intelligent” (Soto 28). Soto obviously knew he was not one of the bright students.
Of course, Soto overlooked the dynamic relationships he had with his own family members. Although they did not have a lot of money, they did manage to have fun. For example on the hot lazy summer days he would go to the swimming pool at Roosevelt High School and swim all day long with his family and friends. Or he would swim at the ditch with his brother with life preservers made of empty detergent bottles. “He explains that he has made a life preserver out of four empty detergent bottles strung together with twine and that he will make me one if I can find more bottles” (Soto 30). Then there is all the time they spend together as a
family. “That evening at dinner we all sat down in our bathing suits to eat our beans, laughing and chewing loudly” (Soto 29). Soto really enjoyed spending this time with his family, even if he did not see it yet for himself.
Soto may have been confused as a child about the family life he saw on television and the family life he saw in his friends. But in reality his family life was not all that bad. Soto contemplated scenes from Leave it