Trash Questions and Answers
by Andy Mulligan

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Describe Gabriel Olondriz in Trash.

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Trash was written by Andy Mulligan and published in 2010. It is a young adult novel about the adventures of a group of poor boys who support themselves by looking in the trash piles at dumpsites. They search for things that can be sold for money. One of the characters, Raphael, finds a valuable bag in the trash one day. It contains a leather wallet with 1100 pesos, a map, photos of a girl in a school uniform, and a key.

Rat, another one of the boys in the group, realizes that the key unlocks a locker at the train station. He assists Raphael and Gardo, a boy in the group, in finding the station and locker, and opening the locker. They discover a letter written by a man named Jose Angelico. It is addressing a man named Gabriel Olondriz, a prisoner. There is also a piece of paper that has a mysterious code of numbers on it. The boys agree to visit the prison where Gabriel stays to speak with him and collect more information.

When they meet Gabriel, he tells the boys that he has been imprisoned because he dared to charge Senator Zapanta with corruption. Senator Zapanta is the vice president of the country in the story. Jose Angelico was his houseboy. Jose stole $6 million from him. He hid it in an old refrigerator to smuggle it inconspicuously. Jose took the money because Zapanta had stolen it from a pool of funds that were supposed to provide international aid. Gabriel is thrilled to learn about the letter from Jose. He says that he can figure out the meaning of the mysterious code on the piece of paper by using his Bible. Marco, a prison guard, tells them that the visitation time has expired. So Gabriel says he will get his Bible at a later time.

From these actions, we learn that Gabriel is a Christian man with a deep faith. He is also morally courageous, since he was willing to dare to bring corruption charges against a powerful man and was not afraid to suffer the consequences. We also learn that Gabriel is helpful, since he was willing to help the boys before the prison guard informed the group that the visitation time had expired. So Gabriel does not fit the stereotype of a violent criminal in prison. And the reason is likely because he should have never been imprisoned at all.

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