Zoot Suit Questions and Answers
by Luis Valdez

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What do you believe the character of El Pachuco represents in "Zoot Suit"?  

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El Pachuco in Zoot Suit is a representative of the Pachuco subculture that dressed in zoot suits. Pachucos were sharply-dressed tough guys, at times gang members, within Mexican American culture in the 1930s and 40s.

Pachucos listened and danced to jazz and swing in both English and Spanish. The best known performer catering to Pachucos was German Valdez, also known as Tin Tan, a comedian and singer.

Pachucos took elements of American culture, film, and music and exaggerated them in their own way. Film tough guys like Robert Mitchum and Humphrey Bogart were imitated.

The popular dress of the day—double breasted suits—was greatly enlarged, with wide lapels, large pockets, garish colors, and wide-brimmed hats with a single...

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dellabarrios | Student

Interesting fact, I asked Luis the same question and he told me that he based some of the character of El Pachuco on the Aztec God Tezcatlipoca.  El Pachuco's signature red and black outfit were inspired by the colors associated with Tezcatlipoca, and he too like Tezcatlipoca, represents the war and strife in Henry's life.  If you wikipedia Tezcatlipoca you'll see a lot of similarities in both Henry and El Pachuco.  Hope that helps!