The Pianist: Wladyslaw Szpilman And Struggle Of Immigrants

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In the memoir In the Country We Love: My Family Divided, Diane Guerrero talks about the struggles she went through because of the United States immigration policies. At an early age, her parents were deported leaving her abandoned with no one but herself. Being alone in a world full of people put Diane Guerrero in emotional and mental disarray. Even with all her mixed feelings, she took it upon herself to go through college and to take acting classes while being an orphan moving from house to house. Diane Guerrero had to overcome many obstacles in order to find peace within herself. Just like Art Spiegelman, Diane Guerrero shared a sense of resentment towards her parents but sought resolve. Similar to Malachy, Diane Guerrero allowed alcohol to control her life but found aid in others and acting. Comparable to Wladyslaw Szpilman, Diane Guerrero was separated from her family and struggled to survive without them. Although the obstacles Diane Guerrero faced were difficult, she didn’t let them define her and was able to find stability and success.

Throughout the book, Diane Guerrero struggled with forgiving her mom. Similar to Art Spiegelman, both shared a feeling of resentment towards their parents. With Diane’s father paying a lawyer every month to help get a green card, her mother also reached out to a law firm where she decided to reopen up the case to send additional information. A few months later the Immigration Services arrived and arrested Diane’s parents. Diane ultimately blames her mother for being too careless when trusting people. It was due to the mother’s trustful nature that this whole ordeal had to happen. With Diane’s depression and alcoholism, she stopped visiting and stopped answer calls from her parents and they wouldn’t talk for years. Analogous to Diane Guerrero, Art Spiegelman resented his father for his shortcomings. Art had a hard time accepting Anja’s suicide which only brought more tension between the two, while Vladek’s constant nagging and disciplining only made Art more impatient. Art believed that he wasn’t “good enough” in Vladek’s eyes which explained the coldness he showed to his father. When Vladek decided to burn Anja’s diaries, Art was reluctant in forgiving his father. The diary was very important to Art’s making of the comic, but because his father destroyed it he had nothing to say but to call him a murderer.

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Although the resentment between Art and his father, and Diane and her mother caused them to drift away from one another, they both found ways to reconcile with their parents. While Diane was struggling with her acting career due to the mental block that was still lingering because of her past, she tried to remedy this by visiting her mother in Spain. When visiting her mother Diane revealed to her all the built-up anger that she had due to her mother’s carelessness which leads to their family’s deportation. With a heart-warming conversation, the two realized that they didn’t want to miss out on each other’s lives any longer. Diane realized that her mother was someone to admire and thus their relationship started to heal. With the interviews of his father, Art began to slowly understand his father’s senile behavior. Although Art knew that his father was very strong-willed and resourceful during the Holocaust, he slowly sympathized with the pain and suffering his father went through. With the last panel portraying a gravestone for both his parents, Art can finally relinquish his anger and allow his parent’s memories to rest in peace.

With the loss of her family, Diane Guerrero fell into a deep depression. She sought drugs and alcohol to cope with her declining emotional state. Like Malachy, Diane allowed alcohol to control her life. In college, Diane took a break from the performing arts and decided to pursue a career in law. She wanted to become a lawyer because she believed that it would, in some way, help her parents. She soon discovered that this was a far fetched dream and in realization she would drink her sorrows away every night, making her incapable of attending classes the next morning. On top of her abusing alcohol, she had a job that took time away from her studies. This led to her failing all her classes and nearly dropping out. Suppressing her emotions with alcohol only made her depression grow. She started to cut herself because she wanted to substitute the pain of being alone with the pain from cutting. The depression even drove her to think about suicide where she is seen on the rood of her building contemplating jumping. After experiencing a near life or death experience she realized that she couldn’t throw away everything that her parents have done for her. Unlike Diane Guerrero, Malachy allowed alcohol to fully control his life. Malachy, since the beginning, drank to cope with the hardship of finding a job. Although the birth of Margaret did subside Malachy’s alcoholism the moment she died Malachy fell into a deep depression and continued to drink in order to suppress his sorrows. Malachy’s alcoholism made him incapable of coming home with the wages. He spent the money he earned to drink at bars only to come home drunk singing absurdities.

Unlike Malachy, Diane found a way to escape the controls of alcohol to become successful. Diane began to pursue the performing arts because she realized that it was her passion. She even consulted a therapist who helps her cope with all the depression and drug abuse she was dealing with. The therapist was one of the few people who Diane opened up to about her painful past. The appointments helped her walk without stumbling and allowed her to accept the past for what it is and to move on stronger. Even with her therapist she still had a mental block that needed to be cleared up. By visiting her mother she let out all her suppressed anger and realized that she was still acting like a child and that the ten years that they lost together can never come back. With this, she was able to move on to a successful career in acting. She starred in Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin as supporting roles. After Orange Is the New Black won a Screen Actors Guild Award, Diane wrote an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times about the struggles she went through and was invited by President Barack Obama to speak on immigration reforms. With her many achievements, she dedicated her life to raising awareness for the kids affected by the immigration system.

Being separated from your parents can take a toll on your life. At the age of fourteen, Diane came home to an empty house and it was one of the quietest moments of her life. She locked herself up in her room and didn’t open the door for anyone because she was scared that ICE would come back. Both Diane Guerrero and Wladyslaw Szpilman were separated from their families and had to struggle to survive without them. Without her parents, Diane took it upon herself to finish her education because she believed that her parents fled to Columbia to create a better life and decided that she should do the same but in America. On the other hand, Wladyslaw was separated from his family due to a mutual friend helping him from boarding the boxcar. He was forced into harsh labor which he could barely handle. With the connections he had, Wladyslaw was able to live in an apartment where he wasn’t able to leave or make noise in. He struggled to eat because he had to rely on someone to bring him food and even then the food wasn’t fresh. Wladyslaw ate a bad potato and was stricken with sickness to the point he was bedridden. With the rebels getting stronger, Wladyslaw witnessed the chaotic events that happen outside his apartment. With all the rubble and dust, Wladyslaw struggled to find food and shelter. With the help of a good-hearted German officer, he was able to survive just a little longer till his rescue. Even with the unfortunate events, Wladyslaw was able to find the will to live without his family.

As well as Wladyslaw Szpilman, Diane had to go through many complications in order to survive without her family. Not wanting to go to a ghetto school like her other friends, Diane enrolled in Boston Arts Academy to pursue performing arts. At the time, Diane was a little girl in a big world where she had to do everything alone. She worked part-time jobs while also attending school. Once she completed her high school education, she applied to Regis College, but with barely enough money so she had to take out loans which later put her eighty thousand dollars in debt. On top of her debt, she struggled with depression and alcoholism to the point where she almost committed suicide and was also rejected for a lot of acting roles. With no family in America and barely any friends to talk to she started seeing a therapist. With the help of her therapist, she poured out all her feelings that she suppressed for a long time. As her mind became more clear she was able to create a successful acting career and was able to gain popularity. Although she struggled to be an independent woman, she was able to overcome her adversities to find success.

Diane was one of the many kids in America affected by the United States immigration policy. The policy took away the people she loved and cared for the most. Without her parents to guide and support her she was left to do everything on her own. Being an orphan in a world as big as America would scare any child. Diane took her fear and used it to find a purpose. With her parents fleeing to Columbia to make a better life for themselves, Diane found it necessary to use this opportunity as a citizen of the United States to stay and make a living for herself. With the many obstacles she faced, she was able to persevere into a healthy and successful woman. Even with her popularity, she used it to raise awareness for the many other kids affected by the immigration policy and reiterates her intentions on calling for the rights of not only immigrants but all Americans. In the end, Diane Guerrero went from being a scared little girl who hid under her bed while waiting for her parents to a successful and talented woman who devoted her life to helping others.


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