Style and Technique
Although the first-person narrator tells his story years after it takes place—as his reference to the 1930’s indicates—he speaks from the point of view of a young child not fully aware of the implications of his own words. This fact makes it possible for the author to achieve a kind of objectivity. More important, he avoids the kind of sentimentality that one is tempted to use when writing about an impoverished child who dies before she has a real chance to live.
Central to the story is Parédes’s ironic vision. Political, economic, ethnic, and personal circumstances deprive Chonita of an opportunity for happiness and success. All of these things, connected with human biology and lack of medical knowledge, lead to her early death. The narrator sees these problems pursuing her even into heaven. The irony is compounded by the glorification in school of revolutionaries such as George Washington and Francis Marion the Swamp Fox along with the official condemnation of revolutionaries such as Emiliano Zapata. As a result, irony of circumstance pervades the story. Nonetheless, the narrator’s feelings of sympathy for Chonita provide some relief from the bleak irony that pervades the story.