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Response 3

Samuel A. Batista Jr.

Professor Steven Alvarez

English 255-6476

14 March 2012

The Beginning of a New Life: An Interpretation of Jose Luis Gonzalez’s The Night We Became People Again and Jose Antonio Villarreal’s From Pocho

Over the course of New York’s history, a bustling city full of important business men, instructors of institutions and civil servants such as mail carriers and police officers, the odds of a blackout is usually put out of mind. People carry on with their daily lives of finding a means to put food on the table, see that special someone at home and even walking the occasional dog. A blackout occurs in Gonzalez’s The Night We Became People Again. A surge of uneasiness begins to cross the city with minor states of panic as electricity shorts out to all major sources from television sets to trains. The story of a struggling immigrant who picks up extra shifts in order to begin saving for his future unborn child is where the story takes place. As the main character begins to work his new found overtime, the news of his wife going into labor reaches him. The story accelerates to a race against time as a husband uses overcomes obstacles to arrive for his child. Upon boarding the train and almost arriving home, the power shorts out and the title of the story begins to make its point. Darkness in some cases a symbol of evil, death and the separation of people. In Gonzalez’s story, he brings to light that it took one simple blackout is what it takes to bring people together rather than keeping them apart. That life is more precious when it boils down to what really matters, family and social interaction. This matters most because when so much time is placed into many things and the unexpected happens, it becomes a point when Gonzalez’s quote takes the most effect. He writes, “[…] because you know that your mind is like a blackboard and time is like an eraser that sweeps across it when it’s full” (747).

Gonzalez states that over time, one’s mind because overly cluttered with various things to accomplish like a blackboard. As more tasks begin to accumulate, the messier the chalkboard will get and it becomes less organized. When he states “time”, he means that gradually things must be erased in order to have a fresh start with whole new meanings of how to live one’s life, cherish what you have and live life to the fullest with the ones your care for most around you.

In Jose Antonio Villarreal’s another event similar to Gonzalez’s story occurred, one that brought a family closer together regardless of past events. The main character, Juan Manuel Rubio, portrayed as a machismo, known for leading the revolution in many battles to victory. He comes off as many do, not giving a care in the world until he has a little incident with a very important man, in which he murders. Rubio flees across the border and eventually finds himself alone until somehow his wife tracks him down. They set off together and eventually she becomes pregnant. As before in Gonzalez’s story, the wife is again pregnant and it takes her giving birth to bring to light a new Rubio, a more mature and responsible Rubio that will now take care of his family rather than keeping himself alive. Villarreal writes,

“[…] tenderly he picked his woman and child up and carried them to the house”(731).
“He was nearly overcome by emotion and did not question the strangeness of this […]”(731)

These quotes show a how much Rubio has matured overtime from the time of a machismo in Mexico to a mature, responsible man who doesn’t question his new found emotions. The first sign of his emotions is when he actually takes up his wife and child tenderly, gentle like, and carries them home as if he knows by instinct what to do and for the first time doesn’t need to be told to him. Villarreal shows that the birth of child, it brings a family closer together, forgetting past instances and by instinct as Gonzalez’s stated in his story, “[…] because you know that your mind is like a blackboard and time is like an eraser that sweeps across it when it’s full” (747).

Works Cited

Gonzalez, Jose Luis. “The Night We Became People Again.” The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. Trans. Kal Wagenheim. Eds. Stavans, Ilan. Et al. New York City: W.W. Norton 2011. Page747. Print.

Villarreal, Jose Antonio. “From Pocho.” The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. Eds. Stavans, Ilan. Et al. New York City: W.W. Norton 2011. Page731. Print.

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