Essay by dkennardA, May 2004

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In this text, "we" are at a church in Mexico. The writer uses the detailed description of the church and the Spanish language to help us visualize attending a church in Mexico; this helps to bring the story to life. The people in this story are Michele, Keeks and Junior; they are considered American Mexicans. The narrator places believable characters in an imagined setting and then puts them in motion. This is represented by their ability to speak English and the games played, i.e. B2 bomber, Lone Ranger, Flash Gordon, which are American cartoon characters. They live between two languages, English and Spanish and two cultures, Mexican and American. The "awful grandmother" represents the Mexican culture as she prays for relatives at the church and disappears into confession. Later the grandmother refers to Michele in her Spanish name of Micaela and tells her she may wait outside with Alfredito and Enrique, which are also Spanish names.

The children seem to show no excitement in the stranger's bilingual ability in their response to the lady, "but you speak English!" To this statement they respond, "yeah...we're Mericans."

The children do not seem to be very interested in their origin or their culture but, the narrator does refer to the statue behind a plate of thick glass as "La Virgen de Guadalupe." The passage regarding their "awful grandmother," praying shows their disheartening regarding their origin. This story seems to take place shortly after the Mexican/American war because the people are described as walking to church on their knees with fat rags around their legs and pillows-one to kneel on and one to flop ahead, were being used in this story. There were also women with black shawls and penitents carrying banners and flowered arches while musicians played tinny trumpets and drums. This...