Breaking Through

1 January 2017

The passing of power As we age and grow older we like to think we gain or learn something; In “Breaking Through”, Francisco Jimenez’s book, Francisco gains power in the household along with his brother, Roberto. We really start to see the loss of power from the father because he is unable to support his family. His father soon becomes depressed and starts to hide. Francisco gets some of his direction and influence when it comes to fighting his father’s authority and power in the household from the American culture.

We see Roberto as a much more quiet obeying son where Francisco was just young enough he was able to absorb the American ways and let go of his traditional cultural ways of obeying one’s parents. As we see Francisco ultimately break through in finding his identity, we begin to see him question his father’s position and beliefs. We first see signs off of power passing, when the father starts to become unable to support the family. The father has to depend on the brothers to support the family and this causes him to become depressed.

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He states,‘But it won’t be until the end of next week, when Roberto gets paid,’ Papa added, biting his lower lip. ” (Pg81. ) He grudgly admits that he needs Roberto to pay for things, this is one of the first incidences where power has been passed from father to son. ‘Don’t think just because you give me your paychecks that you can do whatever you want,’ “he said firmly. ” (Pg88. ) The jobs that Francisco and Roberto have is what start the power change as they become the sole providers for their family.

Their father sees this and tries hard to hold onto the power of authority, but as Francisco grows and gains more independence he starts to question this. Jimenez starts off in the book as a young boy, always obeying his father and his wishes because this was how he was raised. “I did not want to miss more school. I wanted to tell Papa that I did not like his idea, but I did not say anything. ” (Pg14. ) He culture was ingrained in him and his brother that one’s parent’s must never be talked back to and always knew best.

As time goes on we start to see a change in Francisco he is able absorb American culture. Jimenez starts to work and to school, its through this experiences that he gains power and knowledge. American culture is telling him it’s okay to talk back to one’s parents where in his own upbringing his father’s authority had never been questioned. He states, ‘But we’re only a few minutes late,’ I said, recalling the discussion we had in Mrs. Taylor’s class about the film in which a boy argues with his father. ’ (Pg88. We start to see this slide in power as Jimenez questions his father. Jimenez is starting to take on more American ways and we see this difference clearly in how Roberto still obeys his father without question.

“I think I understand, Mama. But what about my dream? ”. (Pg170). Jimenez gains power through finding himself and putting his wants first. He starts to think about his dreams over what his father has almost predicated for him. The American culture allowed him to have a dream instead just being what his father wanted him to be.

He wanted to make his father proud, but when it came to his dream he was willing to fight for it. The difference in the cultures plays a monumental role in how conflicted Francisco is. When it comes to questioning his father, he was raised that this was wrong yet he is learning through American culture that children here are more free willed. We see a difference in the brothers mainly due to age, Roberto was much older when he first came to the U. S. so wasn’t able to take in the culture like Francisco. ‘Papa, Darlene and I are getting engaged and we want your blessing. (Pg172).

Roberto doesn’t have to ask for permission to get married and in America a male wouldn’t ask his parents. He is very much traditional and we see him really try to encourage at times Francisco to remember his roots for instance, “Roberto glanced at me with terror in his eyes and nudged me with his elbow. I knew I had crossed the line. ” (Pg54). Francisco on the other hand is just young enough that he was able to become more outgoing and take on the American culture. Francisco comes into his own person while trying to balance what he was raised to believe.

He starts to get knowledge and through that comes power, we see his father almost try to hinder him with Francisco’s feelings for family obligations. Towards the end of the book Francisco gains enough power within himself to put his wants first though. Francisco had to learn first to question his father. “He said, ‘Don’t be stupid. Only rich people become teachers. ’ He walked away before I had a chance to say anything. He made me really mad. ” (Pg72). Later on Francisco learns of scholarships and thinks well poor people can become teachers too.

He gets mad about his father assuming things and saying what he cares about is “stupid”. Francisco learns despite how he was brought up to that he really loves school and maybe his father can be wrong. ‘Sounds like you don’t believe me, mijo, but it’s true. ’ “Papa sounded annoyed. ” (Pg46). Francisco is starting to see other cultures and he still is proud of his own, but he doesn’t have to believe everything. When his father talks about being healed by a kind of Mexican witch doctor, Francisco makes up his own mind on not thinking that his father was literally cured.

As Francisco comes into his own we see the cumbersome weight of choices he is faced with. He now has the power to make his own future but he still asks for his father’s permission almost as an ode to his traditional roots. He gained power through work and school, through this he was able to learn it was all right to express himself. This changing of power from father to son was something that happens in most family and in the end we still see Francisco letting his father hold on to some of that power.

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Breaking Through. (2017, Jan 03). Retrieved March 23, 2019, from
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