Essay, 2 pages (500 words)

Of borders and dreams essay sample

The published work, Of Borders and Dreams penned by  Chris Liska Carger, gives an insight of a boy, together with his family, in an endeavor to get a grip with success in an environment that has contempt for their culture and decendance.  The book showcases the western Chicago based family’s efforts to fill the academic needs of the central character, Alejandro, in America’s public and private educational institutions.

The well written narrative serves as an eye-opener to the untouched reality of the struggles of a foreign student.  Carger’s perspective and intent dwells on the brutal experience of a foreign family in American Soil.  The author’s personal observation gives a detail of how the social aspect of studying and building relationships with his educators aid his accomplishments and failures in his academic life.

Primarily, Carger reveals the lingual barriers of poor-english speaking students that contribute to failure on reading and comprehension.  The narrative suggests Alejandro’s Mexican ancestry is the main obstacle for learning, his incapacity to fully understand the english language hinders him to bring out his full potential as his teacher gives him complex  vocabulary and spelling activities, even for the average American student (Carger, 1996).

Carger’s narrative observation, that is originally an ethnographic dissertation, characterizes Alejandro as the Mexican American situated at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder who receives little or no parental education at home (Carger, 1996).  The book also reveals the teachers apathy over the reality of Alejandro’s situation in school.

The United States of America is known for the diversity of cultures among its inhabitants, as such, the book questions American competence such diversity.  The efficiency of America’s school systems for one is being questioned since her observations discover the hardships of Alejandro’s impoverished education of the english language furthered by the account in which he misconstrues a sales promotion as a job offer for his father (Carger, 1996).  The question of America’s readiness for cultural diversity is also raised by Carger, in her observation of Alejandro’s familial life, there is an instance where Alejandro’s mother hysterically hangs up the phone due to a recorded message that answers misdialled numbers (Carger, 1996).

The text Of Borders and Dreams guides me to formulate new ideas regarding education perse.  First and foremost, I am convinced that foreign students should be given extra lessons on english vocabulary and spelling since not all foreigners can speak and write english well.  The fact of the matter is, mal-education of the english language is a factor which slows foreign bilingual students from learning.

Secondly, Carger’s book totally changed my belief in the sense that my idea now is centered on the premise that education should be free, not just on the financial context but on the general context as well.  Education should not choose a race, gender, social class or even age; I am now stimulated by the idea that education should be a right and not a privilege.  I am compelled by Alejandro’s situation since education of such people may bear fruit to various fields in the American society and the whole world.


Carger, C. L. (1996). Of Borders and Dreams: A Mexican-American experience of urban             education. New York: Teacher’s College Press.

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