(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

A native-born American citizen of Mexican ancestry, Faustino belongs to a segregated minority within Texas’s dominant Anglo American culture. He lives with his wife and children in a shack on land belonging to his employer, Buster Crane. Born on this ranch, he cannot imagine any other world or any other life. This is typical of the feudal relationship that has existed between Anglos and Chicanos for generations.

One day Faustino is sent to get a wrench in the toolshed adjacent to Buster’s house. Buster’s young wife is outside, hanging clothes to dry. Quite deliberately, she tries to arouse Faustino with exaggerated movements that accentuate her breasts, legs, and buttocks. Faustino understands what Mrs. Crane is doing and is indeed sexually aroused.

At the same time he feels guilty at the thought of committing adultery with his employer’s wife, as well as terror at the thought of the possible consequences. He realizes that involvement with such a woman would ultimately lead to exposure and his eviction from the ranch—if not his own death at the hands of an outraged employer. Although an unspoken caste system in South Texas makes it taboo for Chicano men to have sexual relations with Anglo women, Anglo men can freely have sexual relations with Chicanas.

Mrs. Crane lures Faustino to her kitchen by asking him to empty a big can that collects leaking sink water. Once he is inside, she rubs against him, fondles his genitals,...

(The entire section is 495 words.)