Study Guide

Geraldo No Last Name

by Sandra Cisneros

Geraldo No Last Name Summary

Summary (Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Marin, a young Puerto Rican woman who enjoys dancing, frequents dance halls in different parts of the city. One night at such a place she meets Geraldo, a young, attractive, and neatly dressed Mexican wearing green pants and a shiny shirt. He tells her his name and adds that he works in a restaurant. That is all the information Marin learns about him.

Later that night Geraldo is the victim of a hit-and-run accident and is taken to an emergency room in a hospital. After he dies, Marin is repeatedly questioned by hospital personnel and the police because Geraldo has no identification on him. In fact, his pockets are empty. Marin can provide only minimal information, for that is all she knows. She cannot understand why there is such intense interest in Geraldo. She thinks of him as a person whom “she didn’t even know,” yet she feels pity toward him. She thinks if only the surgeon had come, if only there had been more personnel in the emergency room than just one intern, perhaps Geraldo would not have died, or at least someone may have learned from him whom to inform about his death.

Nevertheless, the narrator states that Geraldo’s death does not make any difference, anyway. He was not someone whom Marin knew well, like a boyfriend or someone close. In fact, he was “just another brazer,” “a wetback”—a person who does not speak English and often acts embarrassed. The narrative then focuses on Marin, raising the question of how she will explain why she has stayed out so late.

The story’s last two paragraphs briefly describe how illegal workers live in the United States. Because Geraldo was an illegal worker, his fate will remain unknown to his friends and relatives who live where he came from. His family will wonder why he never contacts them again.