Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Max Martínez’s sympathies are with his fellow Chicanos. He resents the way that they have been treated by Anglos, who own most of the land in the Southwest and have historically taken it for granted that the Chicanos are an inferior class to be abused and exploited. “Faustino” is a cry for social justice. The story’s patient, humble, hardworking, uneducated protagonist symbolizes the majority of Chicanos in South Texas who do not understand how they are victimized by an unjust social system and who—because of their segregated situation—are essentially unaware of the contempt in which they are held by most Anglos. “Faustino” offers many examples of the crude and subtle ways in which Anglos discriminate against Chicanos in order to maintain a caste distinction for their economic advantage. One such example is Martínez’s offhand observation that while Anglo ranch hands feel free to enter the boss’s house, Chicanos know without being told that they are expected to wait outside.

Martínez is writing primarily for his fellow Chicanos, urging them to develop self-awareness—awareness of their suppressed condition, and awareness of their potential political strength. Not interested in appealing to Anglos to change their behavior, he appeals to Chicanos to force the changes needed to bring about equality. His attitude toward others is especially evident in his frequent and extensive use of Spanish-language dialogue, which effectively...

(The entire section is 516 words.)