Blanca Muñoz, the main character, engages the reader’s affection despite her narrow vision. Developed through narrative rather than omniscient analysis, she is portrayed as young and fun-loving. She is typical of her poor Mexican American community in that she does not really look ahead to her lack of expectations or her bleak future. She yearns for the good life of love, excitement, and possessions, as these values filter into her lower-class Mexican American town through films, music, and merchandising. In the passivity and remoteness that her man, Cricket, expects of her and in the wifely role she expects to assume, she further typifies difficulties confronting Mexican American women of the 1950’s. Blanca plans her wedding to give her life excitement and meaning.
Sammy-the-Cricket Lopez, Blanca’s boyfriend and leader of the Tacones gang, provides a vivid example of misplaced values among Taconos’s blue-collar males and of the dead-end status that mainstream society assigns uneducated Mexican American men. A pachuco, he spends weekends on streetcorners dressed in his zoot suit, preoccupied with egotistical machismo (exaggerated masculinity) and waiting for something to happen. With fine irony, his clothes function as the chief image of his leadership. Instead of financially helping his indulgent mother, he works only to buy his tailor-made wardrobe, a habit that does not augur well for Blanca’s future paychecks. Though his...
(The entire section is 537 words.)