(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The narrator, a Mexican American college student, recalls his life ten years earlier on Frazer Street—a lower-class barrio of East Los Angeles, where on Sunday mornings one could see drunks leaving Millie’s bar after all-night revelries. He remembers one particular Sunday, when the neighborhood’s most responsible citizens gathered on the lawn of his parents’ house to discuss the neighborhood’s deterioration. On that day, his parents announced their intention to move away out of concern for his future. He had recently befriended youths who passed their evenings shooting out streetlights. Their leader was a boy named Al, a cynical and bitter orphan whose mother died from illness and whose father was a victim of violence. Although the narrator refused to participate in the group’s vandalism, he realized with regret that the barrio would always remain a part of his life as his family was moving away.

The protagonist returns to his old barrio—a place now inundated by police cars, broken glass, boarded-up buildings, and burned-out storefronts. He recalls having once been a part of this neighborhood—a fact that he denies in his new neighborhood. He expresses his loathing for the “typical Mexican” and regards himself as vastly superior.

The protagonist next recalls a college demonstration in which he participated in which the police clashed with Chicano activists marching in a civil rights protest. Although he was involved in the movement, he was skeptical of it and considered himself an outsider.

Going even further back in his memory,...

(The entire section is 647 words.)