American Son          A Love between a mother and her

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American Son A Love between a mother and her child can be so strong that sometimes it is hard for one to express how they feel. A mother¡¯s love for her child is unconditional and so is the child¡¯s love for their mother. However, everybody expresses their love in different ways and sometimes the way one person expresses their love can hurt the other person¡¯s feeling even though it is not intentionally meant to hurt the person. Jonathan Kirsch from the Los Angeles Times writes about the American son, ¡°At every moment, at every level, Tomas and Gabe and their mother injure one another in intimate ways, even when they try to rescue each other.¡± This quote holds true for the mother and her son Tomas in the novel, The American Son by Brian Ascalon Roley. They both injure one another in intimate ways, even when they try to rescue each other.

The novel takes place in the 1990¡¯s California. A mother comes with her two sons Tomas and Gabe from Manila and works two jobs to provide for them. Tomas the older son associates himself with Mexicans gangsters and breed¡¯s expensive attack guard dogs to help support the family who was abandoned by his father long ago. Tomas is always causing trouble and worrying his mother. The younger son Gabe is the good son but as he grows older he strays in the same pattern as his older brother Tomas.

Tomas the older son is the son who helps pay the mortgage by selling attack dogs to rich people and celebrities. He is the son who keeps his mother up late with worry and who causes her embarrassment by showing up at family parties with his muscles covered in gangster tattoos and his head shaved down to stubble and his eyes bloodshot from pot. He is half white, half Filipino but dresses like a Mexican gangster that his mother does not like. He is also the son who says that if any girlfriend criticized his mother or treated her wrong he would knock the bitch across the house (15). Tomas seems to do things that hurts his mother but at the same time loves her so much. He expresses his love for his mother by the only way he knows how to which is like a criminal but this in return only hurts her. He lack of knowledge of knowing how to express his love for his mother in the right way is because he was raised up in an expressionless environment. Also, his father was never around to be affectionate him and to show him the right way to express his love so he expresses his love for his mother in a criminal way. For example, he robs people¡¯s houses by stealing chrome bathroom pipes so he can replace the plastic old pipes in his mother¡¯s bathroom, a new bed, and a new couch to replace her old hand-me down furniture. Every time Tomas goes to rob people¡¯s homes he does not steal money but steal things for his mother. He knows that his mom likes perfume so he steals her expensive perfume and jewelry. He does this out of love but of course this hurts his mother because he is committing a crime. He also dresses and acts like a Mexican gangster which his mother does not like but he has this appearance to help him sell guard dogs to celebrities, ¡°The celebrities also like that Tomas wears tattoos that tell you he belongs to the Eighteen street gang¡±(20). His appearance helps him sell dogs, which in turn helps his mom pay for the mortgage.

He rescues his mom at all times and he doesn¡¯t want his mother to get insulted by other people. So, when his mother has to pay eight hundred dollars to a lady for accidentally scratching her car Tomas tries to rescue his mother by yelling at the lady when she calls and by beating up the lady¡¯s son for insulting her. However his mother gets upset that he yells at the lady and she would definitely be upset if she found out that he beat up the lady¡¯s son. This is the only way that Toms knows how to express his love for his mother because he can¡¯t express his love for her through words but this in return hurts her. He also tries to rescue his mom when his mom gets into a fight with his uncle Benito. He tells his mom to stand up to him and when she doesn¡¯t Tomas ignores his Uncle when he comes to visit. Tomas does this once again to show his mother that he cares and that he doesn¡¯t want her to get hurt but his mother doesn¡¯t like how rude he is to his uncle, which again hurts his mother because uncle Benito criticizes her for raising them in America. Tomas again hurts his mother in an intimate way when trying to rescue her but this seems to be the only way that Tomas knows how to express his love.

However, Tomas¡¯s mother also expresses her love to Tomas in a way that hurts him in an intimate way when trying to rescue him. The biggest way that she hurts Tomas is when trying to rescue him from Manila and was moving to America. She wanted her sons to have a better life than she had and she thought that America was the place where he sons can be successive and live a happy life. This was out of her love for Tomas and wanting him to live a happy life. However, in return this really hurts Tomas because he could have lived a better life and bringing him to America changed Tomas into a Mexican gangster and he even gets kicked out of school. Before she brought him to America he was a good shy boy that always stood by her. Her decision to bring him to America out of love to rescue him from the poverty and crime in Manila in turn brought him to a life as a criminal. If she just lived in Manila with her sons then they would not have been so poor, Tomas would have not have associated with Mexican gangsters, Tomas would not have to sell guard dogs, and not have been kicked out of school because Uncle Benito knew people and would have been able to help them. However, his mother had the impression that America was a place where everybody¡¯s dreams came true so she choose to come to America which in turn gave made her children live in a ghetto neighborhood of California where Mexican gangsters lived and Tomas train attack dogs to support the family.

Both Tomas and his mother both hurt each other in intimate ways when trying to rescue each other. Tomas tries to express his love for his mother by trying to rescue her through the hard times but in return hurts her. He expresses his love for his mother by stealing things for her, beating up people that are mean to her, by yelling at her for not standing up for herself, and for being rude to people who upsets his mother. However all these things in return hurt his mother when he is really trying to rescue his mother. This is because he is living a criminal life and this is the only way he knows how to express his love for his mother because he was learned to be expressionless. His mother hurts Tomas when trying to rescue him by bringing him to America where she thought he can live a good life but instead it hurt him because he became a Mexican gangster. So, the quote that Jonathan Kirsch writes perfectly conveys the relationship between Tomas and his mother.