Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

In order to convey the disdain that his central character feels for other Mexicans, Guy García begins “Frazer Avenue” by applying the simile of “dazed cockroaches” to the customers of Millie’s bar who pour on to the street after a wild night. The undesirable Mexicans whom the narrator remembers moving into the neighborhood are called marranos (pigs). Throughout the story the narrator views Mexicans from a high perch. However, in order to provide balance, García offers brief glimpses of moments when the protagonist seems envious of these people who are secure in their identities even though they will leave no mark on the world.

All this is achieved through an interior monologue in which the central character recalls his life up to the moment of his grandmother’s death, which is also the moment of his awakening and of his self-discovery. The manner in which the story is structured—the telling of the present with recollections of the past inserted throughout—-intensifies the feelings of alienation, frustration, and confusion that the narrator experiences. The single word that concludes the story, “South,” has the impact of allowing the reader to share in the moment in which the character reclaims his culture and begins to discover his identity.