The Characters

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Blanca Muñoz, the main character, engages the reader’s affection despite her narrow vision. Developed through narrative rather than omniscient analysis, she is portrayed as young and fun-loving. She is typical of her poor Mexican American community in that she does not really look ahead to her lack of expectations or her bleak future. She yearns for the good life of love, excitement, and possessions, as these values filter into her lower-class Mexican American town through films, music, and merchandising. In the passivity and remoteness that her man, Cricket, expects of her and in the wifely role she expects to assume, she further typifies difficulties confronting Mexican American women of the 1950’s. Blanca plans her wedding to give her life excitement and meaning.

Sammy-the-Cricket Lopez, Blanca’s boyfriend and leader of the Tacones gang, provides a vivid example of misplaced values among Taconos’s blue-collar males and of the dead-end status that mainstream society assigns uneducated Mexican American men. A pachuco, he spends weekends on streetcorners dressed in his zoot suit, preoccupied with egotistical machismo (exaggerated masculinity) and waiting for something to happen. With fine irony, his clothes function as the chief image of his leadership. Instead of financially helping his indulgent mother, he works only to buy his tailor-made wardrobe, a habit that does not augur well for Blanca’s future paychecks. Though his...

(The entire section is 537 words.)

The Wedding Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Blanca Muñoz

Blanca Muñoz (BLAHN-kah muhn-YOHZ), a young Mexican American woman who plans her wedding. She is originally determined to stay away from pachucos, tough young Latino men, but when she becomes interested in men, she chooses from the available selection. Enjoying the fights and excitement of Saturday night dances, she admires Cricket’s physical prowess and status among the Los Tacones gang. On several fronts, Blanca manages her life well. After several rejections in the job market, she gets a highly regarded job at a poultry farm. She is not afraid to talk back to an Anglo-American woman who disparages Mexican Americans. With her mother as a model, she respects her relatives and compliments her aunt on hand-embroidering special kneeling cushions, which Blanca secretly considers “low-class Mexican.” Planning the wedding, Blanca manages her money and even crosses Cricket in making advance arrangements for the orchestra to play the fast dance music she loves. When things go wrong, Blanca adopts a passive optimism: If she pretends everything is all right, maybe no one will notice. She takes this attitude toward her pregnancy, which is never mentioned specifically in the novel.

Samuel Lopez

Samuel Lopez, called Sammy-the-Cricket or simply Cricket, the barely literate leader of Los Tacones who marries Blanca. Engaging in vandalism in grammar school, Cricket aspires to be meaner than any of his tough, mean brothers. His favorite pastime is kicking and stoning dogs. Sullen and given to tantrums, Cricket cannot handle mainstream society. After failing at several jobs involving manual labor, he keeps a job as a garbage worker by smoking marijuana to get the energy that impresses his boss. After buying a bad used car, Cricket retaliates by throwing a brick through the dealership...

(The entire section is 780 words.)