High School Teacher
|(Level 3) Distinguished Educator
Two of the central lenses that we can use to view this exciting and vibrant text about one Mexican-American teenager and the struggle that he has to work out his identity and where he fits in would be gender and feminism and then race.
You might like to think about the way in which the text presents issues such as teenage pregnancy and domestic abuse where the wife is beaten by the husband. We are introduced to a world which is primarily patriarchal and where women have so little power compared to their male counterparts. Manuel grows up in a world where he sees his mother beaten by his father and women generally treated as being inferior to men.
Secondly, one of the massive concepts in this text that becomes so important is that of race. The way in which Manuel's home is compared with the home of his Caucasian boss and the struggles that Manuel has because of his Mexican ethnicity are highlighted in the text. What further draws this issue into the forefront of our thoughts is the way in which the plot drives Manuel to have to make a defining decision about his identity through having to accept or reject being part of a local gang. The text presents us with a very honest and open examination of what it is to be Mexican-American and the way that race is shown to impact such individuals so strongly.