Piri Thomas' "Alien House".

Essay by swoop3s22College, UndergraduateA+, September 2003

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Throughout the short story Alien Turf, Piri, a little Puerto Rican boy who just moved to an all-Italian neighborhood encounters many obstacles. Piri will face rejection and inadequacy. He gets teased, and beaten up, but still, he stays strong and acts older than he really is. At the end of the story, Piri is encountered with a strong sense of compassion from Rocky, an Italian boy who had previously beaten him up. The boys realized that racism is only skin deep, but each person may be a kind, caring human being.

In the beginning of the story, all Rocky saw was a Puerto Rican invading his Italian neighborhood. According to him, only Italians belonged in the neighborhood, and Puerto Ricans, like Piri and his family, should be ultimately banned. Racism is a belief that one race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities. Racial differences may produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

Rocky fully lived by this in the beginning, and even throughout most of the story.

What is compassion? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, compassion is sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Some other people may see compassion as being sympathetic toward someone or something when they are struggling or having some sort of problem. If this is what compassion means, then Rocky truly showed compassion for Piri at the end of the story.

During the last fight that the Italian boys got into with Piri was when everything changed. One of the boys screamed to Piri from down the street, "You even buying from us paisans, you must wantta be an Italians." Usually, he would just run away from them, but this day was different. Piri, sticking up for himself, screamed back to them, "I...