The Glass of Milk

by Manuel Rojas

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Themes

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Reality vs. Imagination
The youth leaves his home to live and work on the sea. But his life there is not as fascinating and orderly as he imagined. The reality he faces is a life of difficult, hard-to-find work and gnawing hunger.

Loneliness
This theme finds its place in much of the fiction of Rojas. In his best known novel, Hijo de ladrĂ³n (Born Guilty), the main character, Aniceto, struggles to overcome his loneliness. His father is a common criminal, and society believes that he too is a criminal. Aniceto is pushed to the lonely edges of society.

The youth in "The Glass of Milk" fights loneliness as he tries to fit in with other stevedores on the waterfront. Ironically, he remains outside the circles of other workers. When they eat lunch he goes off by himself. When he goes to the milk bar, he waits until it is empty before he enters, alone. Despite his search for companionship he remains alone throughout the story.

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