Richard Rubio, whose development is the central focus of the novel, is presented in a third-person-omniscient narration that seems reflective, distant, neutral, even blandly indifferent to characters’ struggles. This mode of presentation is a strange contrast to the frequent episodes of passion experienced by the hero and his family. This portrait of the artist as a young man is more typical, however, in its depiction of its writer-hero as a sensitive child, a contemplative, curious, and voracious reader, observant and self-conscious. It seems Pocho is this boy’s own story and testament to the successful realization of his boyhood dream to write. Richard’s movement away from traditional values and roles contrasts vividly with his father’s conscious clinging to connection with his homeland and native culture. Richard is last seen entering war, not on a horse but on a ship, motivated not, like his father, by patriotic fervor but by desire to escape his own fierce inner conflicts and sense of personal loss.
The Juan Manuel Rubio shown in chapter 1 is a famous colonel in Villa’s revolutionary army. He is also a cold-blooded killer and a ruthless exploiter of women who is callous to the pain he causes. Yet he weeps profusely and grieves deeply when told of the assassination of his idol Villa. After flight to the United States and reunion with his wife and children in California, Juan appears to be a different man. He gives up gambling, women, and violence for manual labor, family closeness, and generosity to those in need. The patriarch of the Rubio family is a man of contradictions,...
(The entire section is 658 words.)