The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child

by Francisco Jiménez

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Chapter 2 Summary

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Last Updated on September 6, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 213

“Soledad” means “loneliness,” and Francisco is desperately lonely when his parents and Roberto go out to pick cotton and leave him in their jalopy, Carcachita, with his baby brother, Trampita. Francisco climbs on the car’s roof to watch his family go off to work and then cries. Hours pass before Papa, Mama, and Roberto come back for lunch.

The afternoons pass slowly as well, and Francisco thinks that he must prove to his father that he can pick cotton, too, so that he is not left behind anymore. Picking cotton is not as easy as it seems. Francisco’s hands are scratched and bleeding, and he only has a little pile of cotton by the end of the day. He knows that his family is paid by the pound, so he decides to mix dirt in with the cotton to make it heavier.

When the family returns, Francisco expects them to be proud of him. Instead, Mama is angry, for Francisco has neglected Trampita. Papa tells Francisco that the family could be fired for mixing dirt with cotton and reminds his son that right now his job is to take care of Trampita. Roberto comforts his brother, who is still determined that someday he will pick cotton, too, and not be lonely.

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Chapter 1 Summary


Chapter 3 Summary