The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child

by Francisco Jiménez

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Chapter 6 Summary

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Last Updated on September 6, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 187

Francisco has his heart set on a new ball of his own for his “Christmas Gift.” The family, however, is struggling to survive. They have to find food in grocery stores’ trash bins and get soup bones from the butcher “for the dog.” They must soon leave Corcoran to try to find work elsewhere.

One day in December, a young couple knocks on the cabin door. They want to sell their few possessions, including a wallet and a handkerchief, for a little money just to survive. Mama admires the embroidered handkerchief, but the family does not have any money to purchase anything.

The family moves north and ends up living in a tent on a ranch. Francisco starts fourth grade. He is still hoping for a ball. On Christmas Eve, Mama tells the story of the birth of Jesus. Francisco cannot sleep, and he watches as Mama wraps gifts, but he cannot see what they are. He does notice that Mama is crying. The children each receive a bag of candy on Christmas morning. There is no ball for Francisco. But Papa gives Mama the embroidered handkerchief.

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