The book Barrio Boy has several underlying themes. One of the main themes is how ordinary people must learn to adapt to socio-cultural tensions. In the book, there are various instances of these struggles. Some are related to the author’s family’s efforts to escape from the escalating revolution between the Mexican government and its working class. Others include their long travels into California and the subsequent difficulties of assimilating into Anglo-American society. Woven across Galarza’s story is also the broader idea that impoverished people constantly grapple to overcome economic and bureaucratic systems, both in Mexico and the United States.
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Ernesto Galarza’s family adapted to many different socio-cultural challenges in his autobiographical novel Barrio Boy which describes his childhood journey from a small mountain village to California, with the back drop of revolution in Mexico. The whole family had a specific known role in their mountain village of Jelco. They had enough and so did everyone else, but the threat of a civil war and the possibility of a draft pushed some of the family to move...

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