Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Plum Plum Pickers passage explications

Please post your papers


in this comment stream if you are period 6.

30 comments:

Katie S6 said...

Katie
Period 6
11-14-07
These Feel Feel Feelings

In Raymond Barrio’s “The Plum Plum Pickers,” Barrio uses the idea of being a human by using names and religion to symbolize the humane ways of life. The author uses contradictions within his sentences to show how the characters in the story are mechanical in some ways but are still human when it comes to feelings and emotions. Barrio also uses the setting to describe these emotions more throughout the story. The main character at first feels trap, then relaxes only to them feel imprisoned again, all until he sets himself free by removing himself from his own mechanical ways.
In the story, the main characters name is Manuel which symbolically relates to the manual labor he mechanically does every single day of his life. Also the word man can be found within his name which relates to the theme of being human that Borrio stresses throughout the story. The character Roberto Morales is symbolic also because Roberto connects to the idea of being a robber and Morales means morals less. The story also uses a lot of religion references which relates to being human because in most religions God provides life to earth. “smiling in their cool filtered offices, puffing their elegant thin cigars, washed their clean blond bloodless dirtless hands of the whole matter. (par.8)” Connecting to religion is this idea of Pontius Pilot who also can be mistaken for Roberto robs Jesus, or Manuel of his life. Roberto takes away his ability to live life because every day he makes Manuel work picking apricots. The author connects this to the theme of what it means to have a life and be human.
The author uses paragraph two to three to show how once Manuel begins to feel human his machine ways take over and robs him of his life. The author uses words such lines such as “Sandy dreams. Cool nights. Cold drinks. Soft guitar music with Lupe sitting beside him. (par.3)” to describe the little things humans appreciate in life. However he soon contradicts himself by switching back to mechanical ways of life, “Tiredness drained his spirit of will. Exhaustion drained his mind. (par.3).”
The author theme in “The Plum Plum Pickers” is that being human means more then just working in fields all day for a living. At the end of the story, Manuel reclaims his humanity by taking down the machines that corrupted him for too long. “Men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride. Or else they are dead before they die. (par.24)” The author is saying that if men work all their lives like machines they might as well be dead because they miss out on that feeling of pride and honor that every man should experience while he is alive. This connects to Barrio’s theme of what it means to be human, it’s the feelings that we cherish that keep us alive.
Barrio keeps the theme going throughout the entire story until the very last sentence. He uses his characters to demonstrate to the reader that if one works all their life trying achieve something mechanically then that one loses their life. If humans were meant to be machines they would be however humans are giving the ability to feel which Manuel finally learns at the end of the story.

Ping L 6 said...

All the Same
In “The Plum Plum Pickers,” Raymond Barrio concludes that humans are built to “experience a certain sense of honor and pride” (2). He believes that a person’s propriety and wealth should not stop him or her from feeling honorable and proud; all human beings have the chance to feel this way. Barrio is able to create this idea through his variation in characters and sentence structure, symbols, and repetition. One word paragraphs are used to emphasize short periods of time. Symbols are used throughout the story; they vary from the names of different characters to the setting of the story. Repetition is used frequently in order to show the importance of his idea and the cycle of humans’ daily lives. Barrio uses many literary techniques in order to form his idea.
Manuel is a poor fruit picker who works in “an endless maze of apricot trees” (1). This “endless maze” (1) symbolizes “the jails of hell” (1); it is a place where there is no escape and where he is “trapped” (1). The setting creates the allusion that Manuel is a lowly-regarded “animal” (1) being trapped inside a cage. To Manuel, “lunch [and] midafternoon” (1) are the only times during which he can rest and that they are short periods of time. Barrio used one word paragraph to show the short periods of time lunch and midafternoon have taken up in Manuel’s daily life. Manuel “endlessly [piles up] bucket upon box upon crate upon stack upon rack upon mound upon mountain”; he works everyday, doing the same thing over and over again. Manuel is symbolic of “an automator” (1) because of his non-resting and repeated work. Manuel’s name is symbolic of a poor worker who works without stopping; Manuel sounds like the word manual.
The higher authorities are wealthy, but selfish; they “didn’t give a shit how that migratory scum lived” (2). They believe that “it was no concern of theirs. Their wives said it was no concern of theirs [and] their aldermen said it was no concern of theirs” (2). Barrio emphasizes the authorities’ lack of care for the workers through his use of repetition. Roberto Morales cheats his workers’ hard-earn money by saying that “there was a miscalculation” (2); he is not only selfish, but inhumane. Roberto Morales’ name is significant because it is symbolic of a “robber” (1) who is “moral less”. The “anglo growers and güero executives” (1) feel proud because they believe that they “cheated no one” (2) and that they are “honest” (1). Morales tries to look as if he is “firm, fair, and square” (1) all the time. Although these authorities committed faulty acts, they still want to experience the sense of honor and pride.
Humans show “defiance” (2) to something oppressive and that they disagree with. Similarly, Manuel earns “respect from his fellow slaves” (2) when he shows defiance toward Morales, who unreasonably take their money. He does this by tipping over his bucket of cots; he proves to his fellow slaves that they should be able to feel honorable and proud too. Barrio believes that “men counted for something” (2). They are built for something “more important and less trifling than the mere gathering of prunes and apricots, hour upon hour, decade upon decade” (2). Again, Barrio used repetition to show the non-stopping work of poor men. Barrio shows through his story that not only the wealthy people are able to feel proud, but also, those who are poor and who work continuously. He purposely composes a character, like Manuel, in order to show his reader the idea that even the lowest class man can feel proud. Through the use of repetition, symbols, and sentence structure, Barrio is able to portray his idea about men.

Son N. 6 said...

Plum Plum Pickers Explicate
In the passage from “Plum Plum Pickers,” Raymond Barrio states that “a man counts for something;” he also includes that “men experience a certain sense of honor and pride” (41). The words “honor and pride,” both contain a sense of great self-respect. Manuel, the protagonist, a good guy defends himself for what he believes is right for his fellow Mexican people. By defending himself, Manuel exposes the amount of pride that is within him and by demonstrating his pride he proves that he is an honorable man through his actions, a man with respect and integrity. A man needs to have honor and pride to survive in a world that is only fit for the fittest. Without honor and pride, what’s a man to do when he is ridiculed, humiliated, or violated? A man should be able to protect himself and be strong to be able to progress through his journey in life.
Barrio sets this up by using his own style of writing. Although Manuel resisted against Morales, a Mexican general, he knows that he will pay for his defiance, “he would have to pay for this, for his defiance, somehow, again later” (41). By using the word defiance, a person who resist against authority, Manuel is able to overcome Morales. Although he might have to pay for his defiance, it seemed as if it did not matter to Manuel because by being defiant, “he had salvaged his money savagely and he had earned respect from his fellow slaves” (41). Manuel is able to stand up for himself and was able to resist against a superior although he knew that some consequences might occur at a later time. Even though Manuel knows this, he is able to demonstrate a little pride and honor to his people, for if he did not, Manuel’s fate would have been a tragic one.
In addition to Morales being a superior, the author brings up the gringo hijos de la chingada, a superior to Morales. Barrio introduces them again, the gueros, people who did not care for Manuel and his fellow Mexican slaves. The gueros hired Morales and by hiring him, Morales gathers his fellow Mexicans to do manual labor; slave work, for the superior than the superior, who did not care. Even though Manuel acts defiant against an authority, it is quoted that “they would never know of this little incident,” they as in the gueros, because they do not care (41). Honor and pride has to do a lot with this passage because it was for his children, for the bread, pan y tortillas, that Manuel became defiant. If Manuel had not been defiant, he knows that his children will not get enough food to eat, even if he was scared, he man up and stood with pride and honor to resist for his family and people suffering the same welfare.
Furthermore, Raymond Barrio adds “Manuel wrenched Morales’ greedy fingers away and removed a fat slug of a purse from his sticky grasp” (41). By adding this sentence, Barrio makes it seem as if they were in a real struggle or fight. A man has to fight for what he believes in to show some honor and pride as well as gain respect. Although the struggle seems to be exaggerated, it would seem to be alright because he is able to stand up for himself and succeed. Sometimes though, men do things without thinking in order to achieve what he aims for, “and in his slow way, in his stupid, accidental, dangerous way” (41). Men are reckless at most times but it is not always for the worst, by being reckless, sometimes better goals can be achieved. If a man can achieve his goal, he can be prideful and if that goal was for the better, he is honorable. This is how the author explains, “a man counts for something” (41).
In conclusion, Raymond Barrio explains how a man suffers. Also how when a man falls, he is able to pick himself up and quickly recover. He then explains how a man sometimes has to resist against an opposing force to achieve his goals. To overcome obstacles a man needs pride, honor and respect. Without any of these, a man cannot call himself a man. If a man does not stand up for him or others and let things stay the way they are for the worst, the honor is lost. Manuel is a man who stood for what he believes with great pride and honor and in doing so; he gains the respect of his people.

Jessica S. 6 said...

Plum Plum Pickers Explication
What it means to be human



The Plum Plum Pickers is about workers who are trapped in low-paying, dead-end job, where they have to pick plums off of trees for a living. They unhappily do there job until the afternoon. So Raymond Barrio suggests that humans are not meant to live life mechanically or insensibly but to experience it with honor and pride through his literary styles.
In the first paragraph a worker is picking plum on a hot day, he is tired and exhausted. Barrio uses a one word sentence to describe and emphasize the state of being that the worker is in. He carefully chooses words such as “Brute… Beast... Savage… Wreck” (40) describing him in an animal-like sense. Barrio uses repetition to describes the workers surrounding as being “trapped in an endless maze of apricot trees as though forever, neat rows of them, neatly planted, row after row, just like the blackest bars on the jails of hell” (40). And ends it with the one word sentence that emphasizes its previous sentence, “Locked” (40) Because the worker is repetitiously picking the plum he works in a robotic way where he feels as though he’s trapped. This leads into “Lunch” (40) which is a sentence and a paragraph alone that makes it seem like time is flying by. Instead eating during the lunch break he “lay back on the cool ground for half an hour…then up again…the trees” (40). The description of the lunch break was so short that it leads right into work and once again everything starts all over again. The workers’ laboring seems mechanical when it says “he picked a mountain of cots automatically. An automator”(40). Afterwards the sun “penetrated the tree that was hiding him and split his forehead open…he blacked out” (40). Barrio uses the sun to symbolize the truth; basically the worker should not be doing this harsh job. And the workers’ name is finally introduced to the story; his name is Manuel which symbolically stands for man or manually which ties into his job.
Then “Midafternoon” (40), once again a one word sentence/paragraph which went by fast, described in a dreamlike trance. Then the whistle blew and work is done with for Manuel so it “Ended” (40). In front of the workers stand Robert Morales. He asked them all for two cents from every bucket of cots because there was a miscalculation. But Manuel flared and said “You promise to take nothing!” (40), feeling as though if Robert takes the money, then he has no honor or pride for his hard work. Then Manuel “tipped over his own last bucket of cots” (40) twice. Manuel refusing to give his money and kicking the bucket makes him more human like and less mechanical because he’s listening to himself this time. The plum symbolizes their pride because after seeing Manuel kick the bucket they stand over theirs and tried to do it to but Robert says “I shall take nothing this time” (40). And Manuel won along with pride and honor.
Therefore Raymond Barrio suggests that humans are not meant to live life mechanically or insensibly but to experience it with honor and pride. And so Barrio concludes “For men, are built for something more important and less trifling than the mere gathering of prunes and apricots, insensibly, mechanically…men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride”(40).

Matthew S. 6 said...

Plum Plum Pickers Explication


In the passage of the Plum Plum Pickers, Raymond Barrio expresses illusion and symbols in his writing as well as backing it up with repetition to emphasize important parts. Barrio’s writing is very different from typical writing and is very simple and short. For example, one word sentences and paragraphs which aren’t verbs because verbs would be an action and is the complete opposite of what Barrio is trying to express. The reason for this is because Barrio is trying to portray Manuel, the main character, as not human but as a machine that is trapped due to the horrible conditions that the Mexican workers like himself, must go through.
This passage is in the plum fields where Mexican workers basically kill themselves over harsh labor. In addition, the Mexican workers are suffering and using every ounce of their energy to do their job for horrible pay. Not to mention, the money that they earn is also stripped away from them time to time by a robber named Roberto Morales. Barrio use of symbols comes from the name of the main character and robber, Manuel and Roberto Morales; Manuel meaning man or manual labor, Roberto meaning robber, and Morales which expresses how the robber has no morals at all.
It is also summertime in the plum fields, which leads to many illusions that Barrio portrays. For example, “The summer’s fierce zenith passed overhead. Sandy dreams. Cool Nights. Cold drinks. Soft guitar music with Lupe sitting beside them.” Barrio uses many illusions to express the conditions of how things use to be and how things are now in the plum fields. For example, “A ray of enemy sun penetrated the tree that was hiding him and split his forehead open. His mind whirred. He blacked out.” From describing how things use to be during the summer, he then explains how hardcore the sun can be in the plum fields and affect the workers very harshly.
The climax of the passage is where Roberto Morales is trying to take money away from the workers of the plum fields, however, Manuel stands up for himself and denies Roberto’s right to strip away the hard earned money from the workers. While everyone of the workers don’t even talk back never mind stand up for themselves, Manuel is the only one to step up. This is very understandable because of Roberto Morales reputation. Barrio uses repetition to emphasize how sly the devious Roberto Morales is. For example, “everyone knew what kind of clever criminal he was. Despite his crude, ignorant manner, showing that he was one of them, that he’d started with them, that he grew up with them, that he’d suffered all the sordid deprivations with them, he was actually the shrewdest, smartest, richest cannibal in forty counties around.” Barrio repeats the words “with them” because he wants to emphasize how Roberto Morales isn’t some rich white man that is taking advantage over petty Mexican workers, however, Roberto himself is just like every other worker and is intimidating and taking advantage of his own fellow Mexicans.
Barrio’s style of writing allows us to understand every piece of detail that we need to be able to actually picture in our minds everything that we are reading. The illusions and symbols make the passage much more comprehensible as they put images in our minds so that we can actually see what is going on about the passage. In addition, the repetition shows us the importance of specific significant parts of the passage.

Elina R 6 said...

The Plum Plum Pickers

In the story the Plum Plum Pickers, Raymond Barrio touches upon one of the basic needs people have as human beings. The need for certain satisfactions such as honor and pride is evident throughout the story. With the use of choppy, fast mood changing and incomplete sentence structures Barrio teases his main character. He deprives him from feeling human until he suddenly gives him the opportunity to express his emotions and feel that he is complete.
With the use of choppy sentence structure, Raymond Barrio begins the story by describing the setting. He describes Manuel’s feelings towards the plantation where he works by stating that the rows of apricot trees made him feel as though he were trapped in a jail. He says, “There had to be an end. There had to be. There- trapped. There had to be a way out. Locked. There had to be a respite. Animal.” By using small choppy sentences, Barrio creates the mood of an animal trapped inside a cage. An animal that is desperate to get out but is aware of his limitations; he delivers fast and short statements out of desperation. Although Barrio’s sentences do have periods at the ends, additional information could easily be added to each one of them. These choppy sentences all suggest that there is more to what Manuel is feeling; the slash after the word “There” provides evidence that Manuel is hesitant when he delivers his thoughts. This in turn suggests that he is not sure about what he is saying because his environment has led him to a savage condition. Furthermore, Barrio writes “respite” to identify the moment where Manuel realizes he is thinking like an animal and longs for a break; a break from his savage feelings in order to find his lacking satisfaction.
Further on in the story, after Manuel’s lunch hour, Barrio starts off his paragraph with smoother more formal sentences. This sudden shift in sentence structure suggests that Manuel is no longer acting and feeling like an animal. The more sophisticated sentences allow us to conclude that after the brief lunch, Manuel feels satisfied and human like once gain. However, Barrio suddenly writes “The endlessly unending piling up of bucket upon box upon stack upon rack upon mound upon mountain.” This long tongue-twisting sentence sends out an alert that all of a sudden Manuel’s mood has changed. Once again he is rushing his thoughts when he begins to meditate upon his job and duties. Manuel calls himself “An automator. A beast” when realizing that his continuous routine at the plantation does not bring him any greater satisfaction as a human being. Barrio uses the word “automator” to further expand upon Manuel’s behavior. He is an automator because like a machine, he does what he is told everyday with no hope for change and self-satisfaction. Barrio returns to the smaller, rushed, and chopped sentences from the beginning, which associate Manuel with non-human behavior. He writes the word “beast” in order to not only emphasize the wild animal characteristics, but also to express Manuel’s position at his job. He is a beast who is being tamed by his masters with no say in regards to what truly makes him happy.
As Manuel works under the sun, he begins to feels drowsy and suddenly falls. He trips over his bucket of fruits and is insulted by his boss who calls him a “pendejo”. Aware of his mistake, Manuel says nothing and continues to work past the mid afternoon. He begins to feel exhaustion, but continues to work, struggling to fill up his last bucket. But “ Suddenly the whistle blew. The day’s work was at last ended. Ended!” Once again this notion of incompleteness in Barrio’s writing appears. Manuel is working diligently to finish filling up his last bucket, but Barrio interrupts this. He doesn’t allow Manuel to finish his task, to complete his goal and be satisfied with his work. Barrio deprives Manuel from the humanistic need of being satisfied with one’s actions. He writes “Ended!” with an exclamation point at the end to explain Manuel’s frustration. He is realizing that he is in the need of something more, something that will make him feel complete as a human being.
Manuel stands there observing Roberto Morales. He feels disgust towards this man because although Mexican, Morals mistreats his own people. Manuel compares him to the gueros and established that they, unlike Morales, are honest. The gueros don’t care about the conditions of their workers because they are only concerned with their goods being cultivated. They feel “fulfilled [at] their end of the bargain” which brings them satisfaction for being successful. Referring to how the gueros feel about the conditions of the migrant workers, Barrio writes, “It was no concern of theirs. Their wives said it was no concern of theirs. Their alderman said it was no concern of theirs. Their-” Barrio expresses that Manuel, in a sense, admires the gueros because they are fulfilled. However, once again, he does not allow Manuel to be fulfilled. It is evident that Manuel feels the need to express his emotions towards the gueros, but Barrio cuts his last sentence, keeping him from completing his thought. Barrio uses that gueros to show another instance where Manuel realizes that he is lacking this fulfillment, which completes people and makes them humans. In the next paragraph Manuel encounters Roberto and says that “Whenever Roberto Morales spoke, [he] had to force himself not to answer. He had to keep his temper from flaring.” Barrio has Manuel encounter an animal figure like Morales right after he has realized his humanistic needs. By doing so, Barrio allows Manuel realize that he cannot act like an animal so he controls his temper. Although fast and unexpected, Barrio has given Manuel a chance to be human.
After Morales tells the workers that he will be collecting extra money, Manuel replies “You promised to take nothing!...You promised” Even though Manuel is trying very hard to control the beast within him, he lets out a comment contradicting the orders. Barrio places an exclamation point at the end of this first statement in order to bring back the feeling of frustration. The familiar feeling of Manuel’s animalistic behavior is exposed with the placement of this exclamation point. But since Manuel has recently realized his humanistic needs, Barrio has him repeat “You promised” without and exclamation point to show the fast shift in Manuel’s character. He pulls back his savage ways and repeats his statement with formality and confidence. After hearing Manuel’s protest, all of the other workers join him and Morales takes back what he had stated.
In this small instance, Manuel transforms. He conscious of his victory a feels “a thrill of power course through his verves.” At this instance Barrio stops writing the one worded sentences that were used for Manuel the animal. Manuel has finally crossed the line towards feeling and being human. He starts to think about his new persona and the role of humans in general and says, “For men…are built for something more important and less trifling than the mere gathering of prunes and apricots, hour upon hour, decade upon decade, insensible, mechanically, antlike.” The words Barrio uses to describe what men shouldn’t be like can be easily used to describe Manuel’s character before his change. He was insensible and antlike because he never expressed his emotions out loud and did what he was told with no question. Like a machine, Manuel was programmed to follow orders and like an animal, he followed them with no rebellion. But after standing up for what he thought was right, Manuel realizes that “Men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride.” It is this honor and pride that Barrio deprived him of previously that allow him to feel fulfilled, complete, humanlike.

Brian A. 6 said...

In The Plum Plum Pickers, the author Raymond Barrio uses one-worded sentences, repetition , allusions and certain names in order to set the theme which is, what is a human being and what is success using unpaid Mexican laborers as his basis. By doing so Barrio effectively conveys his theme by using these techniques in order to persuade the reader what success is and what makes a man.
The short excerpt starts by describing the protagonist Manuel Gutierrez’s situation and describes him as an animal or a machine by using one-word sentences such as “Animal”, “Brute.”, and “Beast”. By using such vocabulary it makes Manuel seem less human or a lower class. Barrio not only puts one worded sentences but he also puts one-worded paragraphs to show time passing through out the story. The story takes place on farm and Manuel picks apricots all day filling buckets upon buckets. Through out the story, it is obvious that Manuel does not get along with the antagonist Roberto Morales. It is interesting that Barrio chose these names to be his characters because both names; Manuel and Roberto Morales could both mean other things. Manuel could mean manual such as manual labor or Manuel with the word man, which leads back to both themes of the story. Also Roberto Morales, the contratista, the “boss” of apricot farm could mean robber and moral less because further in the story he tries to take two cents from every bucket that the workers picked.
During the story Manuel works through out the day on the apricot farm and possibly suffer from heat exhaustion. “A ray of enemy sun penetrated the tree that was hiding him and split his forehead open. His mind whirred. He blacked out.” After this sudden black out his fruit fell to the ground and splattered onto the ground then Roberto just shook his head, asked what was the matter, and dropped the P-bomb. But after this once it is mid-afternoon the paragraph starts off by using strong imagery of being relaxed or a utopia but when the paragraph ends it ends with burning. In order to properly explicate this paper and get authors purpose I feel that I have to explain Roberto Morales more. He is also Mexican, and is one of “them”. Barrio repeats the word them in order to make them seem less human. Further, down the last paragraph on the first page uses a very religious allusion as a well alluding to many other novels such as Macbeth when Lady Macbeth continuously washes her hands because of the murder of king Duncan. However, more importantly is the reference to Pontius Pilot the governor while Jesus Christ was sentenced to death he washed his hands of the matter to rid himself of guilt by wanting nothing to do with it. It is interesting because Barrio gives the anglo growers and guero executives this exact feeling of washing their hands in order to question their character.
During the climax of this short story, the theme becomes evident and shows what being a man is. Barrio believes that a man is some one who stands up for injustice and is while to speak up when necessary. It also shows that one person can make a huge difference. At this moment, Barrio tells the reader what a man is. Also in the same paragraph, the workers are again compared to animal.
The story ends when Morales says he will not take any money from the barrels but it is amusing that the author says that this little uprising will not change anything but just sparked the fuel to start the revolution inside Manuel because if one does not act than “they are dead before they die” If one does not stand up for his rights than he is neither successful or a man.

Meaghan S6 said...

Meaghan
Period 6
What the Plum Pickers are Actually Picking


In “The Plum Plum Pickers,” author Raymond Barrio suggests that humans naturally desire what they cannot have, but will do anything to achieve their ends. To expose this characteristic, Barrio juxtaposes humans and animals through his use of short and long sentences coupled with descriptive imagery and repetition. Animals by nature are instinctual and primitive, and though humans have those same instincts, they have something that animals do not: a desire for “honor and pride” (41).

The title of the story is the first clue to Barrio’s theme. The word plum has second definition other than the fruit; it is something that is coveted or desired. The story focuses on the lives of laborers in a fruit field, so it is appropriate that the title includes a fruit, but the fact that the word is mentioned twice implies that the pickers are not only trying to harvest fruit, but they are trying to “pick” or look for something that they want. So, within their mundane task of picking fruit, they hope to find a greater meaning in life.

Barrio’s first paragraph is the beginning of the juxtaposition and their quest to finding meaning. He introduces the protagonist and the setting through a series of short, one word sentences intertwined with longer, more detailed sentences. Barrio describes the character as a “brute” (40) and “a beast” (40). These, along with other one word sentences, are descriptive details, namely adjectives or nouns, which compare the worker to an animal. The longer

sentences explain that “though he was perspiring heavily, his shirt was powder dry” (40) and the one of the most complex sentences is the one of last of the paragraph, with details about the “holy water” (40) he drinks and how it “spill[s] down his torn shirt to cool his exhausted body…” (40). The desire to drink water and rehydrate brings back the human aspect of the worker, and the use of holy signifies a religious connotation, an idea animals are incapable of conceiving. However, it is quickly followed by the one word sentence “predator” (40). Thus, the transitions between these two types of syntax represent the transition between the worker’s feeling that he is inhuman and his brief moments of mortality.

A brief, one word paragraph follows this beginning paragraph: “lunch,” (40). It represents how quickly time moves by to the workers because a break for lunch compared to the time spent in the fields is drastically different; lunch is over in the blink of an eye.

In the second descriptive paragraph, the worker is first introduced as Manuel, a name which can be taken in two ways: in the context of the word man, because he is the prime example of what it is to be a man, or in the context of manual, because he is doing heavy labor. Barrio uses some descriptive imagery of his lunch time, explaining that the “short rest in the hot shade replenished some of his humor and resolve,” (40). This break is giving Manuel a chance to calm down and find his bearings. However, it is back to the animal-like machine, as Barrio shifts to short sentences like “the trees” (40) or “an automator” (40). In a moment of “black out,” (40) a bucket of Manuel’s fruit falls, ruining the product that “he’d so laboriously picked” (40). This represents a moment between his animal state and his human state; he feels disappointment because he worked tirelessly to pick the fruit but it was knocked over.

After another one word paragraph, “midafternoon,” (40) Manuel has a daydream. Barrio uses imagery with a cool, relaxed tone to show Manuel’s desire for relaxation. He sees “sandy dreams” (40) with “cool nights. Cold drinks,” (40). He is completely at rest. This is what he desires to find: the ability to relax. However, “his fingers burned” (40) as he begins to think about the work he has in front of him. The contrast between coolness and warmth also reflects the abrupt shift in his thoughts, as he transitions from the cold, relaxing world of rest to the hot, blazing world of work.

At last, the day is “ended!” (40). However, Manuel has one obstacle left to face: Roberto Morales. Roberto is similar to robber, while Morales can be seen as moral-less. Therefore, the reader knows immediately that Morales signifies everything opposite of what Manuel stands for. Though Roberto was “one of them,” (40) he still stole from the other workers. Barrio uses more short sentences to describe Morales, calling him a “crew chief” (40) and a “cannibal” (40). These descriptive words paint Morales as an unsavory character with no conscience. He also sites the wealthy white people who own many of the farms as harsh and uncaring because they can “sleep at night” (41) without worrying about the consequences of their actions. He is almost on a rant as this paragraph ends, citing all of their flaws through short, choppy sentences with an angry, frustrated tone.

Then, Barrio quickly cuts away to a confrontation between Morales and Manuel. Morales tries to take money from the men, citing “two cents” (41) from each man. The dialogue is quick in succession, and there are no phrases indicating who said what except in one place. The inability to indicate who is saying what reflects the rapidity of their conversation and their quick reaction to each other. It also adds to the imagery because the reader can picture the two men standing opposite from each other, almost as if they are having a duel with words. The men stand up for themselves, threatening to tip over all of their buckets of fruit if he does not leave them alone. Eventually, Morales gives in. Barrio implies that the united workers are stronger than a single man in that they “gasped as one” (41) but collectively “moved toward their own buckets” (41) without worrying about the consequences. As this takes place, Manuel feels a “thrill of power course through his nerves” (41). He is finally able to feel what it is like to be human; he has found the missing piece: the power of control.

To conclude, Barrio ties this feeling of control to a sentiment of honor and pride. Manuel says that men “counted for something” (41). He compares this realization to the realization don Gaspar had. Don Gaspar is referring to José Gaspar, who was a Spanish pirate in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. After thieving, kidnapping, and terrorizing, he realized that he should change his ways, and he even worked as a councilor for King Charles III. In this similar fashion, humans are more than “insensibly, mechanically, antlike” (41) workers. If they do not “experience a certain sense of honor and pride,” (41) they “are dead before they die (41).

This last line ties the story together with a punch because it is very blunt, and emphasizes that in order to be human, one must make sure that his feelings known and not let them be suppressed by the monotony of daily working life. It warns the reader not to fall into the trap of becoming too mechanical and less personal. Barrio’s technique of juxtaposing two different sides of a human being sets the more conventionally human one aside because it makes the animal or machine-like behavior seem illogical as compared to the relaxed, motivated and proud feelings of honor that are associated with being human.

sarah c 6 said...

In The Plum Plum Pickers, Raymond Barrio shows that his view of a human is a person with pride. To be human, one must have honor and pride. The setting of this story has many trees and is very hot. Workers must go through labor for many long hour to pick fruit. The workers are treated like animals. Their breaks are seldom and seem very short. the setting is made to seem almost unbearable.
In the first paragraph Barrio uses descriptive language to show that the main character is treated like an animal and feels trapped. He is controlled and has no freedom. Barrio is showing that the main character is not human and does not have pride. The lunch break that follows is described in only one word because it shows how fast the break feels for workers. All the work that is done receives no appreciation. The workers are viewed as if they are animals which is why the receive no relief.
The next paragraph describes the next part of the workday. The words, "Almost too exhausted to eat," show the reader just how unfairly the workers are treated. Their feelings do not matter. Barrio is saying that the main character feels trapped again. He is trapped in his work and an undesirable environment. When the fruit is spilled the main character feels as if all his work has gone to waste. The fruit symbolizes that no matter how hard the people work, they will receive nothing in return. Their work without appreciation and their lives without pride are a waste.
Another short break follows this and is a short time to relax. "Midafternoon" is described in only one word to signify how short the break feels to the workers. The word can be read in seconds, and that's how the break feels for the workers. In the following paragraph the main character is finally receiving some time to relax, at least a little bit. He feels drained and starts to work slowly. Exhaustion starts to take over but it cannot be avoided because he has no rights, like an animal. Finally the whistle blows and hope for some relief comes as the workday is ended.
Now Roberto Morales comes into the setting. Roberto is a robber and this foreshadows that he will try to steal from the workers. Barrio shows that these workers are treated like animals and he wrote, "The worst kind . To his own people." to show just how badly Roberto treats them. Roberto is compared with white people because he treats the workers as if they are slaves. Barrio stops the paragraph suddenly to signify that something important is coming up.
The next few paragraphs in the story are very significant to the upcoming climax. Barrio now gives the main character a name. This shows that something benefiting the workers will happen because Manuel is going to speak his mind. Manuel is now a person with a name, he matters. His name is Manuel, it reminds one of manual labor. Roberto Morales represents a robber with no morals. Manuel feels frustrated and Barrio shows that because Manuel is does not have his pride yet. Manuel stands up to Roberto and this shows that he wants and deserves his pride. Barrio shows how a man must gain his pride to be human.
The next part is the climax. Manuel stands up to Roberto and gains his pride back. Barrio shows that the workers were treated like animals when he describes them as, "the other exhausted animals". Manuel will not do what Roberto says anymore and the author is showing that pride can be gained if one wants to become a man. Manuel will no longer do his work and manual labor and let Roberto rob him of his pride.
When Roberto says Manuel's last name it shows Manuel that he is more of a man. Now that he has stood up for himself he has the right to a name. Manuel has started to gain pride and he is a human being now. Their other workers want their pride too. They kick over their buckets and at that moment they become human. They all have pride and Roberto is inferior. Barrio is showing that a man needs and wants pride because without it he is nothing.
The last paragraph describes the theme of the story in more depth. Barrio uses this paragraph to go deeper about why pride is so important to a man. Even though there may be benefits and consequences for Manuel, it is most important that he gained his pride. The last sentence of the story says, "Or else they are dead before they die.". Barrio is emphasizing his point that without pride there is nothing. A man is worthless and as well as dead if he has no pride. With pride rights are gained and some respect is gained too.

Jessica F. 6 said...

“Plum Plum Pickers” By Raymond Barrio


In the passage the Plum Plum Pickers, the author Raymond Barrio suggests that the true human being is someone who has defiance and does not work day in and day out as a machine, he demonstrates this through his one worded nouns and imagery of characters interactions.
The beginning introduces Manuel as a plum picker savagely picking apricots like an “animal,” it is showing the reader a day in the life of a hard laborer. Every word Barrio uses makes Manuel sound and look like an animal, for example he described how he is “trapped” in the “maze of apricot trees” (40). Almost like saying that Manuel is too weak or stupid to get out or come up with a way of getting out. Animals are most likely contained in small areas where humans have absolute control over their every move, kind of like Manuel and his fellow workers.
Once Barrio goes further into the Manuel’s day he introduces the “crew chief” which is Roberto Morales. Morales had been hired by “guero” executives to be their Mexican general. The crew chief is described as a “vicious cannibal,” which can be a metaphor for a wolf pack leader. Wolves have a tendency to be categorized or thought of as “man-eating” animals. Barrio made the characters in this story similar to wolves.
In the climax Morales threatened to take a dollar or two from the amount of money the workers gathered all day. Manuel, finding the courage, stood up for himself and for his fellow comrades, refusing to let such a thing happen. After hearing such a thing Morale and Manuel find themselves in a real animal confrontation. They glare at each other, like wolves tend to do in order to gain dominance over the other. The situation grows more and more tense, until they were “reaching for each other’s jugular, “ while “the other exhausted animals studied the tableau through widening eyes”(41). This scene demonstrates a still portrait of what animals, both these men have become in order to survive and gain dominance over the other. They were reaching each other’s “jugular” or throat, which gives the reader a sense of animalistic picture of the situation. Once Morales chose to let Manuel have his way, which indicated some sort of pride and power for Manuel also “earned respect from his fellow slaves.” Once he gained, honor and pride Manuel was able to feel and know what it is like to be a real live human being.
Don Gaspar was mentioned in the last paragraph of the story and Barrios chose to add him in the piece because he was considered a leader. Gaspar was an explorer who founded San Diego and Monterey in the 1700’s. Don Gaspar was also a soldier, serving Spain. Therefore the character Manuel is found similar to Gaspar because he had founded a new piece of his own history, which was to know what a human beings true purpose is in life. Manuel was to demonstrate to his pack that they are not supposed to exist only to work like ants; they all have a certain purpose. That all men must have the defiance or a form or resisting hard labor that causes them to become mechanical ants, all humans have a deeper meaning in life. And the purpose that Barrio was demonstrating through Manuel was that he gained a sense of honor and pride, which is what every man should experience and live by.

Alexander A.6 said...

The Plum Plum Pickers Explication
In the passage from The Plum Plum Pickers by Raymond Barrio, Barrio suggests that there is a more definitive view of what it means to be alive and more importantly to exist by effectively using imagery and exploring the substance of the setting to form an opinion about existence. Barrio adequately uses repetition and allusions to create a smooth transition from the setting to character development to eventually to build a significant climax of the brief excerpt of the story. In doing so, the author establishes his theme or message about existence and making a bridge between modernist and post-modernist mindset.
In the first section of the passage, there is an absolute influence in emphasizing the mood through imagery and incorporating the images by using shortened sentences to create the feelings of the farm workers. Immediately there is a contradiction of terms as it applies to the text’s connection to the title, “he was trapped in an endless maze of apricot trees…” (line 1), the title implies that the foreigners are plum pickers, the apricot trees show that there is probably a play on words. Plum, aside from being a fruit, can mean a desirable or excellent thing. To the workers, the plums may be represented by the antagonist Manuel’s struggle. It is equality and power that may be the “plums” of the people. As the section proceeds, the next notable feature of Barrio’s style is the short sentences as well as the repetition that occurs within the phrases. The constant use of words like, brute, wreck, beast and even referencing the Sun and the effect it has bearing down on the people below. These words are not commonly associated with the happy times that come with work. The words represent the struggles the people on the farm face during the day. Analyzing the first couple of paragraphs it is important to note how quickly the transition is between the sections signifying the uneasy speed of quickly life transitions and how just as quick as time came it goes away just as quickly. The imagery not only helps clear a mood it also helps develop a conclusion about the central characters. The use of words like beast and predator make the people feel as though they are animals and have no concept of what is human. It is at this point that Barrio introduces his primary theme of his work.
Though using many of the same features present in the first section, the second section, paragraphs 3-6, explore more of the character development. In the third paragraph Barrio uses the same short sentence techniques, but only in this excerpt there are little to no vowels present in these sentences. This builds onto the personification of the humans as machines and animals. Shortly thereafter the antagonist, Manuel, has a moment of humanity. “His half-filled bucket slipped from his grasp and fell in slow motion, splattering the fruit he’d so laboriously picked.” After this line we are finally given a name to the two most powerful figures in the story, Manuel and Roberto Morales. When using these names Barrio uses another play on words to provide an in-depth perspective about how the roles of a protagonist and an antagonist are reversed in the scenario. Manuel’s name can be interpreted as he is a representation of “man” or that he represents the “manual” labor that is involved with farm working. Roberto Morales the unlikely protagonist of the story can be represented as one who “robs” morals or is himself without the moral capability to accept and forgive. Finally, in the end of the passage, much like Lady Macbeth and Pontius Pilate before him Roberto is described as having washed away the shame he faced being “one of them” he has moved on to higher plane while still being trapped on the surface of Earth. Ironically, Manuel can be seen as a very similar Christ like figure of who fought the same battle as Manuel.
Finally, in the concluding paragraphs Barrio sets up a climax by beautifully incorporating all the aspects of his earlier sections and finally setting the scene of the “final showdown” with Morales. Interestingly, Barrio only clarifies that Manuel is the only real human of the bunch, “The other exhausted animals studied the tableau through widening eyes. It was so unequal.” The author then shows that the only true human succeeded by fighting for what was theirs. “Then with his last remaining energy, Manuel lifted his foot and clumsily tipped over his own last bucket of cots.” After being self-assured he is the winner, Manuel reflects that there would have to be some kind of punishment, but he knew he would be looked at as a human rather than the machines and animals they thought they were. Barrio makes an allusion to the story of Don Gaspar de Portola who explored the western coast of America as it is also the place where the story takes place. The story of Gaspar was that he was sent by the Spaniards to colonize the western coast of California. He ended up making a big miscalculation and ended up causing the lives of his crew, but the lesson he learned was that he did not give up the fight even though he would face consequences. And in the latest lines of the passage he finally outright states the theme of his work, to explain what it means to exist. “Men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride. Or else they are dead before they die. In retaliation he fought for his pride and his sense of honor.
The passage itself suggests what it means to be human and why it is there are heroes within all of us. The passage is a great example of how easy it can be to sacrifice traditional writing for simpler techniques that employ a means of understanding a much broader topic.

Michael R. 6 said...

In Raymond Barrio’s The Plum Plum Pickers, Mexican farm workers gather the courage to stand up to their Anglo farm oppressors. Manuel is a Mexican farmhand who picks apricots, prunes and other fruits from the millions of trees on the farm. One day, he builds up the courage to stand up to a man who works for the gringos. The author illustrates a day in a Mexican farm worker’s life. It is an endless struggle to make ends meet, just as humans must survive. It is work with short breaks, and little pay, “and then up again,” up the ladders into the trees to pick more fruits. Manuel can be seen as the holy figure among the Mexican farmhands because Barrio’s story alludes to the life and accomplishments of Christianity’s Moses and the Jewish slaves. Raymond Barrio alludes to humanities fault in being almost sheep-like. Humanity needs someone to follow and at times point the finger at.
The title in itself is completely contradicting. It may be interpreted as the Plum pickers being content with their jobs. It is the first plum in the title that refers to the Pickers and their wealth. Not so much monetary wealth but wealth that can be found in the friendships formed after a hard day’s work when there is “soft guitar music with Lupe sitting beside [Manuel].” The second Plum of the title refers to the trees of the groves themselves. The title conveys a sense of unity and establishes the pickers as their own group who have to work in the grove to make a living, always wishing for something more.
In the beginning of the story, there is a tone of haste. The main character is running among the trees of the grove and finds no end. “No matter which way he turned, he was trapped in an endless maze of apricot trees,” and he is condemned to pick apricots for the rest of his life. This urgent sense of fear of being “locked,” with no way out, slowly subsides as the author introduces other parts of the remaining setting. The Jews and Moses were subject to doing laborious jobs for the Egyptians. Sometimes these jobs had no end in sight but their was always an end of the day which the “slaves” or grove workers always looked forward to.
Then there is a one word paragraph that moves by just as fast as it is read. The single word lunch shows that lunch goes by too fast. Manuel looks forward to lunch but it flies by and he goes back to work. There is a monotonous tone in the third paragraph. Manuel has a routine that he follows everyday. Without any verbs, the sentence “the endlessly unending piling up of bucket upon box upon crate upon stack upon rack upon mound upon mountain,” sounds like a run on but it shows that there is monotony to this job and almost mindlessness about the whole day. Manuel could be like a robot at his job doing everything out of muscle reflex.
There is another one word paragraph “Midafternoon,” and this time the day is almost over. In the next paragraph, Manuel proceeds to daydream. The short sentences without verbs, “Sandy dreams. Cool nights. Cold drinks,’’ provide a strong image. Then, “His fingers burned,” waking him up from his daydreaming and finally in the sixth one word paragraph the day has “Ended!” with exclamation. It is another day done and more money made.
Barrio proceeds to introduce the antagonist in the seventh and eighth paragraphs of the story. Being the mindless and thieving “brute”, that Roberto Morales is, he shamelessly reminds the hard working farm workers with his hands palms up that today “I must take two cents from every bucket. I am sorry. There was a miscalculation.” Manuel refuses and stands up to the thieving Mexican.
Barrio begins his climax of the story with a sentence that sort of draws out the battle lines. “The two men, centered in a huge ring of red-ringed eyes, glared at each other,” helps to establish Manuel as the doer of good and Roberto as the antagonist, the evil doer. Manuel also represents the savior of the mindless “exhausted animals” surrounding him in his duel with Roberto. The rest of the grove workers are the sheep who do what there told and work aimlessly. They follow whoever will lead and do nothing else. Manuel is their savior and their prophet as Jesus was to his disciples in Jerusalem or he could also be connected with Moses and his followers from Egypt as they escaped through the Red sea. The “exhausted animals” watched on as Manuel kicked over his box of fruits. Barrio’s beginning of a new paragraph makes it so that Roberto Morales was now mad and he heard enough from the rebellious grove worker. His “eye blazed. His fists clenched.” In a sudden shift of power, Barrio starts another paragraph with the single sentence “Then an astonishing thing happened.” The mindless “exhausted animals” have realized their power and have joined Manuel in his defiance against the Mexican tax collector. Barrio’s beginning of a 23rd paragraph with the single sentence “Manuel felt a thrill of power course through his nerves,” to show that Manuel knows the other sheep are on his side and Roberto can do nothing if all refuse to give up their earnings.
In the resolution to Raymond Barrio’s The Plum Plum Pickers, Manuel realizes that he will get in trouble for not paying up. In “He had salvaged his money savagely and he had earned respect from his fellow slaves,” the word savagely portrays Manuel as a cage animal. The word slaves alludes to Moses gaining respect from his fellow Jews allowing him to lead them out of Egypt.
Manuel had beaten back the other animals and kept them away from his earnings. “Manuel had wrenched Morales’ greedy fingers away and removed a fat slug of purse from his sticky grasp,” the purse being meat earned after a days work. Humanity has to rise above the low levels that society has set for the grove workers. To Barrio, humans are meant to earn their rewards and work for their life. The Jewish slaves of Egypt had worked enough in their lives and Moses lead them to the promise land where they were rewarded with a civilization of their own. “Men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride. / Or else they are dead before they die,” meaning that without integrity or honor in a man’s life, there is nothing to live for. One must have dignity within one’s self to have something to live for.

Linda Y 6 said...

Linda Y
Period 6
November 14, 2007

The Plum Plum Pickers

A human being is a type of species that has the qualities of being civilized and educated. In comparison to animals or creatures, humans are not savage or wild. Instead, animals hold a lack of decency and are treated as domesticated. Raymond Barrio’s The Plum Plum Pickers emphasizes the distinctness between a human and an animal. To emphaize the distinctness, Barrio uses lengths of sentences as a way to distinguish whether or not the protagonist, Manuel, is which species. A shorter sentence or a fragment defines a condition when Manuel behaves more like a beast while a longer sentence has the detail that would characterize him as a human being.

The first paragraph gives an array of examples to hint whether Manuel is a human or an animal. In the first sentence, Barrio starts, “No matter which way he turned, he was trapped in a an endless maze of apricot trees, as though forever, neat rows of them, neatly planted, row after row, just like the blackest bars on the jails of hell,” (Barrio 1). The first sentence emanates the idea that the protagonist is a civilized human being, which includes plenty of imagery and symbolism at a greater length than many of the other sentences in the paragraph. For example, Barrio writes, “There had to be an end. There had to be. There-trapped. There had to be a way out. Locked. There had to be a respite. Animal,” (Barrio 1). The sentences are much shorter and abrupt than the first sentence. Between each sentence, he uses a word to describe an animal. At this point, the protagonist becomes an animal. Manuel lost his sense of decency as a human and Barrio uses abrupt sentences rather than lengthy and detailed ones.

In the next two paragraphs, Barrio uses the lengths of sentences as to when Manuel would stop working and taking a rest. When Manuel actually rests, he returns back to a human rather than being worked like a domesticated animal. The second paragraph, which only has the word, “Lunch,” (Barrio 1) is abrupt and does not contain any verbs. The reason for doing so is because Barrio chooses to show that the lunch period passed by quickly without much notice. The protagonist is too caught up in his work to focus much on lunch. Without much focus on lunch, Manuel works himself like a domesticated animal. Although he does not concentrate on the lunch period, it is still his break. During the period, Barrio uses a much longer form of sentence: “Almost too exhausted to eat, he munched his cheese with tortillas, smoked on ashes, then lay back on the cool ground for half an hour. That short rest in the hot shade replenished some of his humor and resolve,” (Barrio 1). The sentences are back to normal lengths with details about his actions rather than descriptions of his condition. He arrives back at the state of humanity and civilization. Even his eating habits and break experiences are literally described in the sentences above. Barrio has a major differentiation between when the protagonist reverts back and forth from an animal and a human being.

At the very end of the essay, Barrio once again uses the lengths of sentences of play on reverting back and forth from a human being and an animal. According to Manuel, “men...are built for something more important and less trifling than the meter gather of prunes and apricots, hour upon hour, decade upon decade, insensibly, mechanically, antlike. Men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride.” The sentence defines what a man or a human being is. It is made up of long details as to what man is built to do or be. Barrio uses a sense of parallelism with the “hour up hour, decade upon decade,” to give a more descriptive and emphasis on what men are not supposed to be. Men behaved like animals in the past but they cannot do that now. The last sentence is more abrupt and says, “Or else they are dead before they die,” (Barrio 2). Barrio is once again using that fragment to represent animals. By behaving like animals, men are less civilized, which calls for the use of a shorter way to end the essay. If man becomes like an animal, he would be less able to have more detail and a more sophisticated language.

Raymond Barrio’s extensive use of language gives the readers a sense of whether the protagonist is more like a human being or an animal. By having longer sentences, a form of sophistication is emphasized as to being a civilized man. On the other hand, a shorter and abrupt sentence or fragment represents a more focus on animals. Animals are supposed to be less sophisticated and do no have the same abilities as human beings. A human being is supposed to be to have “a sense of honor and pride.”

Emily L 6 said...

In The Plum Plum Pickers, Raymond Barrio reveals his meaning of being human, particularly a man, in which one is not alive unless he or she surpasses oppression and self-degradation because it only holds him or her back from achieving the true honor and pride in being human. Barrio’s emphasizes on this state of being oppressed through his use of various short and detached sentence structures and the imagery of animals and machine to create the effect and allusion of a trapped nonhuman character in the first page of the story. However, by the climax, Manuel discovers a way to hinder oppression. Barrio then makes a subtle transition from the short and detached sentences to the long complete sentences and to the imagery of a unit. Manuel becomes a “man” of ideas and power, freeing him from oppression, and allowing him to be a human.
Manuel, the protagonist of the story, is a farm worker who works for hours and hours manually picking fruits. Immediately, the story reveals a sense of how Manuel views his life as he compares the farm to “an endless maze… like the blackest bars on the jails of hell”. Ultimately, he does not enjoy his life because his life is pretty much enclosed and jailed. He does not see his job as great fun, but rather like torture. Manuel appears to be in this morbid state where he‘s struggling for “living moisture” and pleading for a way out for “there had to be a way out” much like a man in jail who is “trapped”. Then these one word sentences start to appear and it’s as if these words are randomly popping into Manuel’s head. They’re like short moments of consciousness for Manuel and also words that describe him like “Beast” or “Brute”, all adjectives or nouns with a negative impression, making him seem filthy and caveman-like. The usage of short sentences also establishes time. The word “Lunch” is placed in its own paragraph that the time period of lunch seems so short. Before, there was a long description of his day, but then “Lunch” is only said in one single detached word that it almost appears insignificant to the story. The time to eat for Manuel is like a 4 seconds break and then its back to the endless work and “the endlessly unending piling up of bucket upon box upon crate upon stack upon rack upon mound upon mountain”. By making this long sentences constantly repeats the word “upon”, it creates the feel of an unending surplus of work burdening him from doing anything else.
Not only is Manuel oppressed by the setting of the farm and the work, but also in every time that he comes close to describing himself and telling more. Short phrases would cut him off from the story. Phrases like “The trees. The branches again…The ladder”. All these phrases are not even important to the story nor are there any verbs involved, yet they are able to over power Manuel’s significance in the story. Unable to do anything about his life, Manuel becomes even more oppressed as “he was too tired even to curse” when Roberto took order over him. Spiritually and emotionally, Manuel demonstrates carelessness and a lack of motivation to be living or be human as it repetitively describes him as being “tired” and “exhausted”. He’s “truly a refined wreck of an animal”. Manuel is clearly like an animal in the story, one who resembles a lazy pig and a “predator” because he’s easily bullied by Roberto, “the cannibal”, and by men of higher status. Once again, another one sentence paragraph, “Mid afternoon” appears. The movements of time passes by him ever so suddenly again and the process continues with a pattern of big paragraph, one sentence paragraph, etc for rest of the first page of the story. The paragraphs are so composed and structured that in an overview, the structure looks a bit robotic and mechanical like Manuel himself. His life is basically work, lunch, work, afternoon, work, and end. He’s like this machine that is programmed to do that amount of work each day.
However, when the day “Ended!”, everything negative of Manuel also ended. Instead, he becomes this totally different man with an unexpected aura of confidence where he had to “keep his temper from flaring.” Manuel never seemed to care much for Roberto Morales before when he yelled at him, but Manuel was definitely changing. Now all the pickers “gasped as one”. In the beginning of the story, it focused mainly on himself or on only one person, but now there is this imagery of pride. When people do things together, they share something in common and it shows unity among them. This unity in humans was not seen in the beginning, but rather Manuel “felt alone though surrounded by other pickers”. The sentence structure now is also different from before. Rather than having pure 3rd person perspective of the story. There is now dialogue and long detailed sentences. Manuel is depicted much more as a human now. He speaks and he is concise in establishing what is right and wrong. In kicking the second bucket, the fruits roll “in all direction” as if opening new paths for Manuel to take.
Through taking risk to break free from oppression of the world, Manuel is able to discover that men are built to count for something and to experience honor and pride; likewise to Robert Barrio’s meaning of being human. Successfully, Barrio was able to depict the feeling of being deeply oppressed by the surrounding to the point of nonexistence because if one continues to conform to what is wrong for “hour upon hour”, it will become “decades upon decades“ and life would just be as if he or she is “dead before they die.”

Amy H 6 said...

Amy Hien
Period 6
11/13/07

Plum Plum Pickers Explication


In the Plum Plum Pickers, by Raymond Barrio, Barrio suggests the definition of a human is a caged animal or machine through the main character, Manuel. He is endlessly working and his work usually accounts for nothing. His work/pride is usually taken away from him from someone higher than he. There is never a way of escaping the human trap for Manuel. Never. Unless there is pride and dignity within one’s self, then humans will no longer feel trapped.
In the first paragraph of the excerpt, Barrio use of one word sentences describes the locked life people have and the definition of being human. Caged. As if a caged animal, running and running, only to be killed by either mankind or nature. Barrio’s use of one letter words stresses the definition of what it is to be a human. Like as if humans are “beasts” (1), and nothing more but an “animal” (1). Humans’ lives is an “endless maze” (1), unless they show some “defiance” (1) in them. Or else being human would be like living in the “jails of hell” (1), without any meaning and without any future. Not knowing the definition of dignity or confidence.
In the second paragraph, the reader actually feels that the plum picker is a human rather than an animal or a machine. Barrio actually gives the plum picker name to be Manuel. Though, what does most people think of when they heard the name Manuel? Barrio’s purpose for calling the plum picker Manuel was because when thought of the name Manuel, most people think of labor. Manuel is a man of labor, nothing more. A person’s life revolving or depending upon labor is usually sought as either an animal or a machine not an actually human being. Someone who is seen as a machine or animal is also seen as a person with usually no morals or goals or anything really. Depriving them of the full definition of being human or being alive. While the laborer’s name is Manuel, the contratista’s name is Roberto Morales. Roberto, to rob and Morales, of morals. Robbing of morals is the meaning of Roberto Morales name. Barrio name choice is interesting because someone of a high position is only capable of having a last name, while a laborer is simply just given a first name. Furthermore, the imagery Barrio decides to use goes back to the time when slavery was legal. Only the masters or white people were given last names, while slaves often times did not, and if they did, it was usually their master’s. The slaves were in the shadows of their masters, just like how Manuel status is compared to Roberto Morales.
Furthermore, the break of single words paragraphs Barrio decides to use indicates how fast lunch is for Manuel and the other laborers. When time to work, it seems like work could drag on for eternity while lunch time seems like a second, just like the daily lives of people. Get up, go to work, come back home, sleep, and the same thing happens over and over again. Nothing but constant work, day after day after day. Barrio’s purpose was to make labor consume people’s lives while resting is a little break, making lives appear endless. Implying humans are not in control of their lives, but labor is. Causing their lives to appear more trapped and meaningless. Unless there is pride and defiance, life accounts for nothing.
Through brute choice of words and use of imagery, Barrio is able to upheld his audience’s mind to sallow the true definition of being human through his main character, Manuel. Work, work, and more work. There is no resting, no talking, no happiness, nothing, but more work.

Christina H 6 said...

Christina Huang
Mr. Gallagher
Period 6
Pride and the Plum Plum Pickers

In the story, The Plum Plum Pickers, Raymond Barrio shows the power of one human being in a world that is driven by conformity. The author uses repetition to create a feeling of endlessness in Manuel and the other workers’ long, laborious day at work. Barrio compares humans to animals a number of times, indicating that it’s obvious the workers are mistreated by the Roberto Morales and the güerros, yet the workers allow the abuses to continue. With each reminder of injustice, Manuel’s pressure builds, pushing him closer to his ticking point. It is this ticking point that Barrio admires in human beings. For once, Manuel is taking action rather than watching and settling for the second-best option.
Raymond Barrio begins the story with “row after row” (40) of apricot trees. Manuel is trapped behind the “blackest bars on the jails of hell” (40) where there is a never ending line of work waiting for him. He performs the same laborious routine today as he did yesterday and the day before that. “There had to be an end” (40) to this miserable cycle of life. “There had to be a way out” (40). Barrio expresses the Manuel’s desperation to escape. He gasps for control of his life even though he can barely keep the “hot dry air” (40) from suffocating him as he gasps for air. Despite the complications with the unfavorable environment and conditions, Manuel is convinced that it’s possible to improve his situation.
Manuel toils like an animal, sweating from his “brute body” (40) and taking “great brute gulps” to “replenish his brute cells” (40). Barrio chooses the word “brute” to describe Manuel’s ignorance of allowing himself to be worked like an animal. The author refers to Manuel’s cells as brute as well, blaming the human race for passing on weak traits. Instead of reaching a state of realization of his worthiness, Manuel accepts the lifestyle that he is accustomed to despite his discontent.
Manuel allows his discontent to grow and bottle up inside of him as the he stares at the “bucket upon box upon crate upon stack upon rack upon mountain” (40) of apricots. Barrio creates a sense climax within the sentence. The pile of fruits grows larger and larger as midafternoon approaches. Similarly, Manuel becomes more exhausted, but he continues contributing to the laborious routine. He continues to work for Roberto Morales, the “richest cannibal” (40) of the forty counties.
Barrio clearly distinguishes Morales from Manuel and the other workers. “Despite” (40) the fact that Morales is Mexican, that he wears torn, old clothing, that he had grew up and suffered “with them“ (40), he quickly learned how to cheat his way to the top at the expense of his own people. Knowing Morales’ selfish past and present, Manuel and the other workers show little signs of protest for better treatment and conditions. Morales demonstrates absolute authority over the workers and maintains his power with help from the güerros and his personal attempts to relate to the workers. At the end of the day, Morales announces that there had been a miscalculation, expecting that “everybody understands” (41). .He reiterates himself to put an emphasis on everybody, which shows he expects agreement and cooperation from all of them.
Up to this point, Morales has silently accepted the intolerable conditions at work. When Morales attempts to take back the meager salary that the workers’ have toiled all day to earn, Manuel “lifted his foot and clumsily tipped over his own bucket of cots” (41) as a declaration that he will not compromise. Manuel finally breaks from the routine. Morales had expected everybody to turn in the extra money without dispute, but Manuel stops him. Manuel feels a “thrill of power course through his nerves” (40). Instead of trudging home disappointed and 3 dollars less, Manuel feels a sense of “honor and pride” (40), because he stood up for himself and for his people. To Manuel, today is a victory; today he makes a difference.

thespina g 6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily R 6 said...

Morals of Man

In the passage from Raymond Barrio’s The Plum, Plum Pickers, Barrio shows through conflict that all humans posses an innate pride, which separates the human race from wild animals or even machine. At first, Barrio uses one word sentences, such as “Brute” and “predator” to set a primitive tone. He does this to show the similarities between human and animal, to show how Manuel’s tedious work is animal-like. He uses symbolism in the names’ of the characters. Manuel symbolizes man, and Roberto Morales represents no morals or a robber. He uses great imagery to describe the hot weather, and one word paragraphs to show the briefness of breaks that Manuel receives. He does this to show the harsh animal labor-like conditions Manuel must endure. Barrio compares the rows of trees to jail bars to show the audience how Manuel is almost “trapped”.
Barrio changes the his style of writing when Manuel speaks out against Roberto. The sentences are more flowy, and less primitive. This is to show what separates humans from all other walking species of the earth. He shows the pride that humans posses, that animals do not. Manuel fought for those few dollars Roberto tries to take, which an animal could not do.
Barrio shows through his contrast in writing style, and the conflict between Manuel and Roberto that all humans contain pride within them, which is what it means to be human. That humans, as a race, are separate from all other organisms because humans have pride, and can voice opinion and gather as one. Barrio thinks that if you do not exercise these feelings of pride then, you are dead before you die.

Faedhra said...

f wagnac p:6

Dignity

Many researchers try to characterize human being in term of physical, genetics, mental or characteristic. However, it is only throughout the Plum Plum Pickers by Raymond Barrio that we are enables to examine human in a different perspective. Throughout the story, we are force to notice what it is like to be a human being. All we do in life, whether it is our daily works, we must take pride in it. We want to be categorizing as someone with dignity. During our search for dignity, we notice how respect, pride and honor are all related. We see that we must be able to distinguish what is right from what is not. We must have moral values because it is through those values that we will be able to have dignity, take pride, and honor everything you do. It is by having those qualities we will believe just like Manuel that a man is counted for something.
As Barrio stated, we found ourselves “trapped in an endless maze of apricot trees” which Barrio purposely chosen because apricot is one of the fruit that can be found world widely because of its ability to survive in the cold and tropical environment. By living in a maze of apricot where they are “neatly planted, row after row” shows us that the life that we live is constructed in a fashionable manner which perhaps can sometimes be boring. We will sometimes feel like as we are “trapped, locked” in a task that show no “way out“. We cannot risk doubting ourselves now. There must be a way out. We started to work even harder day and night just like an animal, a beast, like savage. However, the day end, wreck, tired but that is nothing because we have a goal as Barrio shows us this is just the beginning.
Barrio let us meet Manuel, which name derives from Emmanuel meaning God is with us, He is an apricot picker whom works diligently at his task and does it really well. Barrio makes the readers felt in love with him as he shows his leadership and his courage to protect his values. Manuel would not let Roberto Morales, his boss takes a portion of his work that he laboriously did. Manuel stood up for his right, he fought t for his dignity which encourages his fellow workers to do so. Manuel was proud because not only “he had salvaged his money savagely but also he had earned respect from his fellow slaves.” Not only did Manuel know right from wrong but also he had pride in his work. He wasn’t going to sit back and let Roberto takes advantage of him because he knew what types of individuals he really is. A Manuel stated: he was the worst kind. A real robber, a gentlemanly, friendly, polite, grinning, vicious, and brute. Roberto is someone that knows about values but does not care of the values of others. He was the worst kind.
Roberto has no remorse, his only goal is fame which he will get as he stuck on his workers like a leech and take everything that they had earn for themselves. From Roberto, robot can be found which clearly describes Roberto personality. He is someone without a conscience; he has no feeling for other but himself. Is he still a human being? Yes, he is a human being but he is the worst kind will be found across the globe. This is why “whenever Roberto Morales spoke, Manuel had to force him not to answer. He had to keep his temper from flaring.” However, Manuel taught him a lesson by wrenched Morales’ greedy fingers.
For once in his life, Manuel feel like man is counted for something. This stepping forward was a step toward victory. Manuel has learned that men are created for something more important than laborious work. Man is built to experience a certain sense of pride and honor without that experience, a man is dead before they die. Manuel is thrilled because the incident that occurred brings pride and honor to him.

Laurie M 6 said...

Laurie
English 12, H

The Road to Becoming a True Man

In Raymond Barrio’s “The Plum Plum Pickers”, Barrio conveys the idea that a man must obtain a sense of pride in order to fully be seen as a true man. Through his strong description of the main character, sentence structure and word choice Barrio exemplifies that in life a man must have pride before being recognized as a true human being.

Raymond Barrio begins with repetitive sentences; this conveys the dull aspects of the main characters life. Barrio without naming the main character gives the audience a quite vivid description of the character and the setting. The setting is organized in a “maze of apricot trees, as though forever, neat rows of them, neatly planted, row after row”, this gives the setting a mundane look. With this mundane look comes along the character’s description of being “locked” along with the maze-like setting the character has a feeling of captivity. Barrio’s effectiveness shows through his short one-word sentences. These sentences all include descriptive words that define this nameless character. He uses powerful words including “brute, beast, and savage” to convey t that this character is a senseless being. In some cases Barrio describes this character as though he is some kind of animal. This makes the reader sense the unimportance of this character.

The next paragraph is just one word; “lunch”, the continuation of one-word sentences gives the reader a sense of organization. This organization is in the life of labor workers, more like a day-to-day schedule that gives life no essential meaning but to go through the same motions everyday. Barrio’s nameless character is now given a title in the third paragraph. His name is “Manuel” in Spanish but if pronounce in English it sounds like the word manual, which means physical work. Barrio chooses this name for his character purposely; doing this reveals to the audience that Manuel is a manual laborer, which in society is not seen as high class. Manuel being a laborer answers the long standing question as to why he was described in previous passages as being an “animal”; an animal to labor and his master.

Throughout the next few paragraphs Barrio continues with the short sentence structure that he began with, keeping a steady pace to Manuel’s dull life. Manuel’s master is introduced as “Robert Morales”. Once again Barrio chooses to give another character a symbolic name. If Morales is pronounced in an English dialect it sounds like “moral less”, which is what he is conveying. Robert Morales is characterized as being rude to his workers without having remorse. He is described to have a “crude, ignorant manner” being the headmaster; Barrio wants Morales to have this attitude of being superior to his workers. His rude nature has an effect on this piece of literature gives Manuel a lower position and Morales takes advantage of this fact, as he demands to take the money that his workers rightfully earned.

As Morales stands in front of his workers “smiling and palms up” he asks to take money back from his workers. This angers Manuel and with “widened eyes”, he responds in an apprehensive manner reminding Morales that he “promised” that he would never take anything that they already earned. This is a big step for Manuel only because Morales is in higher standing than him. Seeing Manuel’s determination to stop Morales from taking the money the other workers stand strong behind him. This is the moment where Manual is seen as having depth; this intense climatic moment reveals Manuel’s true personality. He is no longer seen as an “animal” but as a person with an identity. The feeling of “power courses through his nerves” as Manuel stands up for himself and the other workers, which is a feeling that he has never had before.

Manuel’s character begins as being just another worker. He does not have an edge, but instead continues on with his life as a labor man. Having low self-esteem and no sense of pride is what Manuel is seen as. When he realizes his true potential he stands up for himself in a rough setting. Barrio mentions that “men are built to experience a certain sense of pride and honor”, Manuel reaches his state of pride after he speaks his mind to Robert Morales. This is what Raymond Barrio is conveying through his short story “The Plum Plum Pickers”; a man is not a true man without obtaining the ability to understand his own dignity and pride.

Quan T 6 said...

Being a Man

In Plum Plum Pickers, Raymond Barrio reveals the unyielding power of a man’s valor when Manuel, a lowly worker, stands up against the cruel injustice of his crew chief, Roberto. Barrio exaggerates the inhuman primal characteristics of the workers through his use of undomesticated diction and belittling tone. He emphasizes the contrast between living as an animal and living as a human by creating a paradox between both worlds. Through the mistreatment of the workers, Barrio suggests that a true man is born when he withstands against the oppression of an unjust authority.

Barrio begins by describing the ensnared nature of the setting of one particular unnamed worker. Without a name, this worker is regarded less of a man because having an identity is vital to living in society. The worker is “trapped in an endless” (40) cycle of daily labor. Humans aspire to be free, yet this worker is bound to working in the “endless maze of apricot tress” (40). Barrio uses curt, yet powerful one word sentences to portray the characteristics of the worker. He is “Locked” (40) and resembles an “Animal… Brute… Beast… Savage… Predator…” (40). Barrio also uses imagery to portray the worker’s primal characteristics. Covered by “stinking follicles and pig gristle” (40), the worker is “a truly refined wreck of an animal” (40). The worker is dirty and foul, unlike humans who are inclined to maintain cleanliness. He bears more of a resemblance to “An automator… A beast…” (40) than human. It is not until much later that the worker is introduced to be Manuel. The name, Manuel, is more than just a name; it is an identity, which draws him closer to being human.

Manuel’s human characteristics do not wholly materialize until he is pushed far beyond his limits of tolerance. Enraged by the Roberto’s statement to take two cents from every bucket, the human within Manuel finally appears. Manuel “clumsily tipped over his own last bucket of cots” (41). Tipping over the apricots indicates Manuel’s determination to obtain justice. Manuel puts his life at risk at this instant. Influenced by his bold actions, the other pickers moved to their buckets and “took an ominous position over them” (41). Thus, Manuel is able to innately lead his fellow workers to follow through with a civilized protest against Roberto’s unjust demands. Overwhelmed by the unity of the pickers, Roberto unwillingly agrees to “take nothing this time” (41). When Manuel stands for righteousness, he draws out the human characteristics of all the other pickers.

In Manuel’s “stupid, accidental, dangerous way,” (41) he makes discoveries regarding the understanding of being human. He learns that a “man is counted for something” (41). According to Barrio, “Men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride” (41). Under Manuel’s defiance, Manuel accomplishes more than just salvage his money and earn respect from his fellow workers. He becomes a man.

Benwit L 6 said...

From Brute to Man of Pride

When society thinks of a person of meaning, it usually thinks of some heroic figure, waging a war or assisting comrades in need. However, in “Plum Plum Pickers,” Raymond Barrio transforms Manuel Gutiérrez, an ordinary, lowly apricot picker, into a man of purpose and pride. Through well planned writing, terse sentences, and intense symbolism, Barrio describes Manuel as both a worker, mechanical and crude, and a true man, proud until death.

Barrio starts his story focusing on Manuel, setting the reader in a vast apricot field. He is trapped within the trees as if they were the “blackest bars on the jails of hell” (40). With such strong symbolism used from the very start, Barrio already creates an image in the reader’s mind that Manuel is suffering unbearable torture. He then describes Manuel as a brute in a series of short sentences describing Manuel and his actions, many of which do not use verbs. Barrio uses these sentences to directly convey powerful emotions and thoughts. He truly makes it seem as though Manuel is a “refined wreck of an animal” (40) as he deliberately strips whatever human qualities that Manuel has. Manuel does not even have a proper name throughout the introduction.

Barrio’s sentences are not only used for description, but also for manipulating the reader’s emotions when appropriate. Through simple one word paragraphs, Barrio transitions abruptly through hours in a workday in a mere second. The declarations of “Lunch,” Midafternoon,” and “Ended” (40) are given the ability to warp the reader’s sense of time, making Manuel’s work seem all the more monotonous and excruciating. It is as though anything up until that point does not matter, that anything Manuel does has no impact on the world. The sentences also break his structured, traditional writing and increase with intensity as the story goes on. As Manuel rests during his lunch break, his one moment of peace, Manuel is reminded of “the trees,” “the branches again,” “the briarly branches,” “the scratching leaves” (40). Barrio’s sentences also reestablish the fact that Manuel is working in a hellish environment.

Although Manuel seems helpless, Barrio makes Manuel more of a human than those of higher status of him. Barrio attacks the images of the successful Robert Morales and his rich, guilt-free employers in the same manner that he degrades Manuel through his short sentences that stir up thought. Morales: “A real robber. A Mexican general. A gentlemanly, friendly, polite, grinning, vicious, thieving brute. The worst kind” (40). The shameless employers responsible for hiring such a hideous man: They were honest, those güeros. They could sleep at night. They fulfilled their end of the bargain and cheated no one” (40-41). People that do seem to have purpose, that have more important tasks than picking apricots, are not superior to Manuel. Manuel may appear to be a brute but he demonstrates that he is more of a human than his fellow workers and his superiors by defending his honor.

Manuel’s defiance is shown in a “stupid, accidental, dangerous way” (41) but he stands for his rights unlike everyone around him. Through his defiance, he makes a discovery that Barrio believes rivals even Don Gaspar’s discovery of the Californian coast. He discovers that “men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride” (41). Barrio’s choice of character shows that nothing prevents people from being human, that even the lowliest of men can be human so long as they have their dignity.

Simon M 6 said...

In the Plum Plum Pickers, Raymond Barrio demonstrates the importance of pride and what it means to be a man. Barrio sets up the protagonist Manuel as a beastlike work machine through repetition and diction. The tone sways between calm dreamlike scenery to harsh work conditions up to the climax. By establishing an animal state, it is possible to show how Manuel overcomes his cage and turn into a man.
The passage begins with a descriptive paragraph about Manuel and his labor. Manuel thinks, “There had to be an end. There had to be. There—trapped. There had to be a way out. Locked. There had to be respite. Animal” (40). Barrio uses repetition here to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation. The workers are trapped animals that could not find a way out. They were kept in a cage only to work forever. Barrio uses short and descriptive one word sentences. Each of these one word sentences contribute to the animal picture of the workers. The establishment of animals is used for comparison later to the more manlike Manuel. He worked in “the hot dry air. The hot dry air sucking every drop of living moisture from his brute body” (40). Barrio again emphasizes the lack of human treatment here. The use of the word brute degrades the workers even further.
Barrio’s then follows with a one word paragraph, “Lunch” (40). The use of a one word paragraph demonstrates how brief a period of time is to Manuel. Right after that, the tone switches to a relaxed state, touching upon lunchtime and the tranquility of it. Barrio writes “that short rest in the hot shade replenished some of his humor and resolve. He felt his spirit swell out again like a thirsty sponge in water. Then up again. The trees. The branches again” (40). Here, it is almost as if Manuel feels a bit human. The fifth paragraph also states, “Sandy dreams. Cool nights. Cold drinks. Soft guitar music with Lupe sitting behind him” (40). These dreamlike scenes build up, almost setting up for the climax of the story. Barrio reveals a glimpse of humanity and later in the climax lets it explode out of Manuel. Even then, the tone switches back to the harsh conditions of the labor, demonstrating the power of control work has on the workers. “Manuel was too tired to even curse” (40). This line is the first time that the protagonist is given a name. Slowly, the protagonist is coming to a state of manhood, a state of empowerment.
A man can stand up for himself. Regardless of attributes, according to Barrio, “men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride. Or else they are dead before they die” (41). Near the climax, the antagonist Roberto Morales is introduced. From his name, he is a robber and a man without morals. Again, Barrio continues with his repetition of shaming the workers. “Their only crime; their only soul grime indeed was that they just didn’t give a shit how that migratory scum lived. It was no concern of theirs. Their wives said it was no concern of theirs…” (41). The laborers are referred to as scum now, not “animal”, not “brute”, and not “savage” (40). Scum is typically referred to a person—a human. The climax of this story is when Manuel has his moment of empowerment. He has pride in his long labor and decides to stand up for himself. Placed next to his superior, he could not help himself but rebel, a normal human characteristic. Seeing Manuel rebel, his fellow workers are inspired and “moved toward their own buckets still standing beside them…and took an ominous position over them, straddling their feet over them” (41). Following someone charismatic is also a trait of humans. The power of unity and pride repelled Morales, “All right. All right, men. I shall take nothing this time” (41). It was through this conflict that Manuel learns “that a man counted for something” (41).
Manuel and his fellow workers are not the same as the animals as describe in the first paragraph anymore. They have a sense of pride now, a sense of humanity and power. Barrio transitions the transformation from animal to man throughout the passage. With pride and friends, a man will always feel “a thrill of power course through his nerves” (41).

Emily T 6 said...

Plum Plum Pickers Explication

In the story “The Plum Plum Pickers” Raymond Barrio suggests that human beings have a duty to make their life meaningful even if it means standing up to a larger force. He portrays this through symbols and imagery within the story.
The protagonist Manuel is a laborer who picks plums. He is hard working “ almost too exhausted to eat” he lives everyday working to his full potential. He is often taking advantage of along with the other fruit pickers in the field by a man named Roberto Morales who is of the same ethnicity of the other fruit pickers but holds more power. Manuel builds up the courage to stand up to Morales one day and is surprised by his successful results.
After Morales tries to steal “2 cents” from every fruit picker Manuel rebels. He kicks over his bucket protesting Morales and encourages the other pickers to stand up to Morales. He realizes that he must stand up for him self in order to maintain a purpose in life.
The author shows that every man “counts for something”, but in order to count for something a man must stand for something. Manuel stands for his true believes of equality because him and the other fruit pickers where treated “unequal”. When Manuel is able to stand up to Roberto he realizes that a man is much more than a laborer. Every human being is as powerful as the next if they are willing to move out from there “mechanically, antlike” ways and discover their strengths and willingness.
The imagery of the “endless maze of apricot trees” represents Manuel struggle to find his way out of his never-ending labor. Like a maze Manuel is trapped in his ongoing labor and is struggling to find meaning within the walls he has been placed. He is living like he is behind “bars on the jail of hell” because he is unaware of his capabilities as a human being. He struggles to find meaning in his life because is tasks are repetitive and do not advance him any further.
The author depicts Manuel as “stupid” because he is “slow” in realizing his capabilities as a human. But once Manuel realizes his capabilities he feels a sense of “thrill of power”. Manuel discovered that his life can have meaning and he can break out of the “endless maze” he was placed in only to succeed with greater achievements in life.
The author believes that “Men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride”. Without this their life is ultimately meaningless because “they are dead before they die”. Manuel is able to experience this pride and honor when he stands up to Morales. He is able to protect himself, his family, and his fellow workers from the inequality of his job. He is able to break out from the mold that society has placed him in and to live a meaningful life. The only way he achieved this meaning in his life was through his own actions because only oneself can give their life meaning.

Shuyi G 6 said...

Shuyi Guo
P.6
Mr. Gallagher

In the passage The Plum Plum Pickers, the author Raymond Barrio suggests that immorality drives the lives of human beings. He creates the character Manual and Morales to symbolize the human beings in the 19th century. Manual, whose name if combined with his position, the word “worker”, would become the word “manual worker”. Morales, whose name originates the sounds of the word “moral” and “less”, giving the meaning of immorality. Barrio attempts to express his feeling that the world is becoming more ruthless, people are either destroyed or to be the ones to destroy. In the story, Manual is one of those who are being destroyed. He is asked to work all day long with almost no time to eat and relax. Also, Morales takes the advantage of him and other workers that he tries to request more money deducted from their earnings. Manual, feeling his anger, speaks up against Morales. Manual’s rebel is apparently a success, since others workers respect him and Morales gives up his request. However, Manual life is still controlled by Morales and the employers. Manual has no authorities. Therefore he has not “a way out”. Through the use of allusion, Barrio expresses his idea of immorality in humanity.

In the beginning of the story, Manual is described to be “trapped” in an “endless maze” of trees. Barrio uses the word “trapped” in order to emphasize the feeling of unfortunate, and the words “maze” to emphasize Manual’s “trapped” situation, aggravating Manual’s difficulties. Barrio points out that Manual can never get out of his difficulties. Also, the word “endless” means forever but contains no hopes for Manual’s case. Barrio points out that Manual can never terminate his agitation, which signifies that people who are destroyed can never end their sufferings.

Barrio uses a unique sentence structure, the one word sentence. He uses them to describe the previous sentences. The sentence “Locked.” following “There had to be a way out”, giving a sense that Manual’s poor working condition will never be solved. The sentence “Animal.” following “There had to be a respite” symbolizes that Manual works unceasingly that he even looks like an animal and is never treated better. The sentence “Savage.” following “Though he was perspiring heavily, his shirt is powder dry.” depicts the evil attitudes of Manual’s employers. Because no matter how hard Manual works, his shirt is still “powder dry”, alluding that the employers are still not satisfied. The word “Wreck” following “hot dry air is sucking every drop of living moisture from his[Manual] brute body” concludes Manual is mistreated by the employers. The last sentences of the first paragraph “pleased to meetcha.” should be Manual’s saying to the employers. It alludes Manual and other worker’s manner facing the employers that they have to be polite and appear to be inferior. Barrio uses Manual’s weak position in the society to signify the mistreatments the destroyed ones receive.

Also Barrio uses one word sentence to describe the eating and relaxing time for Manual, “Lunch.”, “Midafternoon”, and “Ended!” Despite Manual’s hard working all day, his time for eating and relaxed is ironically short. He might even feel that time of working has never stopped. Barrios’ use the one word sentence tells the disappointment of being the destroyed people, since time for enjoying and relaxing is always so short.

Starting from the second paragraph, Barrio uses long and rhythmic sentences to describe the situation rather using the one word sentence, “The endlessly unending piling up of bucket upon box upon crate upon stack upon rack upon mound upon mountain.” The word “upon” gives a sense that the amount of work for the workers is excessive, that the job is “endless” Even though Barrio uses a long sentence now, the feeling of “trapped” and “wreck” the one words sentences give still exist. His perfect use of rhythmic long sentence provides an agitated feeling, which signifies the long and boring life of the destroyed ones.

As the story processes, Manual recalls his time spent with Lupe, he was thinking of “sandy dreams”, “cool nights” , “cold drinks” and “guitar music”. All of these are in Manual’s dream now that he dreams to be freed one day to enjoy his life. However, he is actually doing a job that is “endless”. His employers will never cease to take advantage of him or relieve him. And not long, “tiredness “drained” his ability to dream. Manual becomes tired to think of the wonderful dreams in his mind. Manual’s physical and mental spirit died from an excessive amount of work, as well as the destroyed ones would suffer from work.

Manual and the other workers are later summoned in front of Morales after work. While listening to Morales’ request for more money off from each bucket, Manual abruptly spoke up against the Morales. In the middle of Manual and Morales’ conflict, Manual kicks over his bucket that the plums “rolled away in all directions around everyone’s feet.” Barrio describes the motions of the plum moving around “everyone’s feet” in order to trigger the motivations of other workers. Manual’s rebellious kicking leads others to go over to their buckets, and “took an ominous position over them”, scaring Morales that they would do the same as Manual. Despite Manual’s leading act for rebellion, Morales and the employers would not care much. Especially the employers, they “wouldn’t give a damn…wouldn’t give a single damn” even though they heard Manual’s brave act. Manual will never be free from his work, no matter how hard he rebels. His life is controlled by Morales and the employers – the immorals. Barrio uses Manual’s final result for rebellion to emphasize the out come of human beings are determined by the immoral ones.

In The Plum Plum Pickers, Manual hated unceasingly picking the plums; he rebels for the deduction of earnings, and earns respects from others. His life, however is controlled by the immorals, Morales and the employers. Barrio uses Manual’s case to communicate the idea that immorality drives humans’ life. It determines their starting point; their process for life which may or may not contains rebellions, and their outcome of their life.

Erika R. 6 said...

The Plum Plum Pickers

In “The Plum Plum Pickers,” Raymond Barrio uses symbols and imagery to develop his story. Living in a foreign country is hard, but working in a foreign country under the orders of someone who even though shares someone else’s background and still treats his own people like they are servants, steals their food and only care about his own well-being is not worthy of deserving the title of human being. In this story of human suffering, Manuel Gutierrez stands up and fights to defend his rights as a human being and worker, not mattering that he had to pay for his undisciplined behavior after, because what he had done left a sense of pride that would give him strength to take what was coming next.
Repeating the same words and creating sentences that are one word long create a sense of tiredness and discomfort while it shows how the time at this point is passing by very slowly. On the setting of the story, Barrio starts describing a man who “stopped and walked to the farthest end of the first row for some water, raised the dented dipper from the brute tank, drank the holy water in great brute gulps so he wouldn’t have to savor its tastelessness, letting it spill down his torn shirt to cool his exhausted body…” (1). This description of Manuel makes him look like he is a prisoner, a type of machine that is already programmed to do what it is asked to without being able to show what its necessaries are. Barrio uses imagery to describe Manuel as an animal or machine who is used to follow orders and feels less valuable than others. Manuel shows this while saying, “Please to meetcha” (1).
After having lunch and regaining strength, the day should go on smoothly, but for Manuel there was not an advantage. Roberto Morales, the one in charge of the worker, “a real robber,” as his name suggests it, does not care about his own people even though “he grew up with them,” and “he’d suffered all the sordid deprivations with them.” Roberto does not only steal the workers’ money everyday after work, but he also steals the workers’ pride because they cannot complain or speak up and Manuel has “to force himself not to answer” every time he listens to Roberto saying how “there was a miscalculation” with his “smiling” face and “palms up.”
Even for the most patient person, there comes the time when nothing more can be hold back. Manuel felt that he had to do something to defend himself against Roberto. He felt he had to defend his honor and pride, so he exploded and heard himself say, “you promised to take nothing!” By using imagery, Barrio describes the two men “reaching for each other jugular,” like they were two animals fighting to defend their territory. Even though Manuel knew Roberto had the advantage because Roberto was more “powerful,” he did not let this intimidate him, and in a last effort to defend his pride as a human being, “Manuel lifted his foot and clumsily tipped over his own last bucket of cots. They rolled away in all directions around everyone’s feet” (2).
Manuel did not want to continue being treated like an animal, instead he opted for defending his honor by showing Roberto that at last Manuel did have a voice and that he wanted to be heard. “He would have to pay for this, for his defiance, somehow, again, later. But he had shown defiance… and he had earned respect for his fellow slaves” (2). That was exactly how Manuel felt, like a slave, but for once in his life he had been able to defend his honor.
Barrio uses imagery and allusion to develop the purpose of the story. He does not let Manuel die without defending his honor and show how a human being should be treated, with respect. It could also be seen as Barrio giving life to Manuel because if men do not experience what pride is, “they were dead before they died.”

Erika R. 6 said...

The Plum Plum Pickers

In “The Plum Plum Pickers,” Raymond Barrio uses symbols and imagery to develop his story. Living in a foreign country is hard, but working in a foreign country under the orders of someone who even though shares someone else’s background and still treats his own people like they are servants, steals their food and only care about his own well-being is not worthy of deserving the title of human being. In this story of human suffering, Manuel Gutierrez stands up and fights to defend his rights as a human being and worker, not mattering that he had to pay for his undisciplined behavior after, because what he had done left a sense of pride that would give him strength to take what was coming next.
Repeating the same words and creating sentences that are one word long create a sense of tiredness and discomfort while it shows how the time at this point is passing by very slowly. On the setting of the story, Barrio starts describing a man who “stopped and walked to the farthest end of the first row for some water, raised the dented dipper from the brute tank, drank the holy water in great brute gulps so he wouldn’t have to savor its tastelessness, letting it spill down his torn shirt to cool his exhausted body…” (1). This description of Manuel makes him look like he is a prisoner, a type of machine that is already programmed to do what it is asked to without being able to show what its necessaries are. Barrio uses imagery to describe Manuel as an animal or machine who is used to follow orders and feels less valuable than others. Manuel shows this while saying, “Please to meetcha” (1).
After having lunch and regaining strength, the day should go on smoothly, but for Manuel there was not an advantage. Roberto Morales, the one in charge of the worker, “a real robber,” as his name suggests it, does not care about his own people even though “he grew up with them,” and “he’d suffered all the sordid deprivations with them.” Roberto does not only steal the workers’ money everyday after work, but he also steals the workers’ pride because they cannot complain or speak up and Manuel has “to force himself not to answer” every time he listens to Roberto saying how “there was a miscalculation” with his “smiling” face and “palms up.”
Even for the most patient person, there comes the time when nothing more can be hold back. Manuel felt that he had to do something to defend himself against Roberto. He felt he had to defend his honor and pride, so he exploded and heard himself say, “you promised to take nothing!” By using imagery, Barrio describes the two men “reaching for each other jugular,” like they were two animals fighting to defend their territory. Even though Manuel knew Roberto had the advantage because Roberto was more “powerful,” he did not let this intimidate him, and in a last effort to defend his pride as a human being, “Manuel lifted his foot and clumsily tipped over his own last bucket of cots. They rolled away in all directions around everyone’s feet” (2).
Manuel did not want to continue being treated like an animal, instead he opted for defending his honor by showing Roberto that at last Manuel did have a voice and that he wanted to be heard. “He would have to pay for this, for his defiance, somehow, again, later. But he had shown defiance… and he had earned respect for his fellow slaves” (2). That was exactly how Manuel felt, like a slave, but for once in his life he had been able to defend his honor.
Barrio uses imagery and allusion to develop the purpose of the story. He does not let Manuel die without defending his honor and show how a human being should be treated, with respect. It could also be seen as Barrio giving life to Manuel because if men do not experience what pride is, “they were dead before they died.”

Nina F 6 said...

In the short story Plum Plum Pickers, Barrio shows the readers that sometimes a character is define by their name. A name is what everyone is born with, known as, but with time that name may not be as well fitted. Being given a name shows that there is importance in that person, making them feel human and not like animals. Barrio uses name as a form of letting the readers into the characters real personality, making the name of his character significant of how they are portrayed.
The story begin with a worker, who we do not know the name of and Barrio shows us that he is a hard working man who is portrayed as an animal or machine by using one word sentences which are more powerful then the bigger sentences due to the fact that those one word sentences gives the readers a little insight to this character. As Barrio describes this character more he reveals his name and he writes, “‘whatsamatter, can’t you see straight, pendejo.’ Manuel was too tired even to curse.” It was strange to see that Barrio would give his the name Manuel. There are many meanings and translation of this name, one was the word manual. Whenever someone thinks about the word manual they automatically think of some kind of machine that if anything goes wrong they were able to reference back to the manual to be able to fix it. The writing also contributed to the idea of Manuel being a machine by using these one word sentences giving it the sense that he is programmed just to say one word and being monotone. So Barrio giving him the name Manuel shows that he is viewed as a machine and not as a human being.
Manuel being viewed as a machine makes him seem less of a human. In Manuel the first things that is seen is the word man. As the story goes on Manuel begins to endure this characteristic of being a man. Manuel through out the story didn’t really have his manhood because he just conformed to doing this job because he had to and letting other people put him down. As the story progresses he begins to regain his manhood, by finally standing up for himself and his co-workers. Manuel says, “You promised to take nothing!” this shows the turn around for Manuel because he was standing his ground and he didn’t care about the things that would happen to him. At this moment this is when he regains the man in his name Manuel. After this point his name suited him because of the fact that he official took charge and became a man. Manuel taking charge shows that he didn’t want to be taken advantage of by his boss anymore and he was willing to say what he though was right to get the things he deserved. As Manuel says this line to the boss it gives him a sense of pride because once he said something the boss decided not to take the money anymore so it just shows that he stood up and became a man when it was needed and in the end that’s what counts.
When Manuel says this, he is saying it to his boss Roberto Morales. Roberto Morales is also a significant name, this name can mean without morals. This meaning is everything this man is, he just doesn’t seem to worry or even care about other people because throughout the story he seems to take advantage of the fact that they are immigrants. Morales shows that he doesn’t care about his workers by the way he talks to them, Barrio write, ‘Morales’ eyes blazed. His fist clenched. “You pick them up. Gutiérrez.”’ This passage shows that he was angry at the fact that Manuel stood up to him because he always had some sort of power over them because of the fact that none of them ever said anything to go against him. The way Barrio describes the ways Morales was acting shows that he felt as if he was superior to his workers just because he has a higher position. So his name being Roberto Morales fits him very well due to the fact that’s he didn’t care about anyone that worked for him.
In the end a name can be the way to really determine the person who may be portrayed as. So in picking a name it is a very crucial part of ones life, many things can mark someone’s life but the name is a stepping stop to what that person will become. Having a name is what differentiates humans from animal.

thespina g 6 said...

Thespina G

Plum Plum Anthropology


In a passage from The Plum Plum Pickers by Raymond Barrio, the author expresses his answer to the question: What is a human being? Barrio depicts the image of being human as having the ability to defend oneself and one’s pride and honor, and actually doing it. He provides juxtaposition of animals and humans through long and short sentence structures combined with descripitve imagery and repitition to build an answer to his question.
The title of the story is the first move Barrio makes in building his answer. The word 'plum' has a second meaning besides the fruit. It is something highly coveted. The word is acceptable in the title considering the fact that the setting involves workers who pick plums for a living. However, the author's repitition of the word in the title implies that the workers are not only picking plums, but there are infact searching for something highly coveted. The author creates meaning through the title by showing that the boring routines of the workers lives are actually their personal searches for a greater meaning in their lives.
Barrio's first and second paragraphs are where he goes into juxtaposing humans and animals and also where he plays on words to create deeper meaning. He introduces the protagonist, Manuel Gutierrez and the antagonist, Roberto Morales, who's name is later introduced. Barrio's choices regarding the names of the characters are extremely interesting and definitely have an effect on the plot and theme of the story. Manuel, who is a hard-working, almost robotic man is given the name Manuel resembling 'manual' meaning orderly and straining, constant labor. While his last name is Gutierrez which has the word 'gut' in it resembling the 'guts' Manuel had while talking back to the antagonist towards the end of the excerpt. Barrio gave Roberto a name resembling the word 'robber' which is exactly what he made himself out to be when asking for a portion of everyone's hard-earned money. His last name, Morales, resembles the word 'moral-less' which Roberto was throughout the whole story. Barrio describes Manuel as a “brute” (40) and “a beast” (40). Those words along with others mainly adjectives and nouns are used as one-worded sentences to compare the worker to an animal.
Following the first paragraph is a brief one-word paragraph: “lunch,” (40). It is a move by the author that gives the reader the idea that lunch goes by so quickly as opposed to the long tedious hours of working in the fields. The second paragraph is where Barrio names Manuel but it is also where he describes his lunch time. During his lunch break Barrio gives Manuel a chance to relax and observe but right after it isd abck to the animal-like machine . Barrio again starts to use words like “the trees” (40) or “an automator” (40) as short sentences. At one point, Barrio combines the human side and animal side of Barrio when the bucket of his fruit that “he’d so laboriously picked” (40) falls. This feeling of disappointment makes the reader feel like Manuel is someone they can relate to with human feelings and not just a machine for picking fruits. After another one word paragraph, “midafternoon,” (40) Manuel has a daydream. Barrio's laid-back, cool tone with which he uses imagery shows Manuel's desire to relax. He imagines "sandy dreams” (40) with “cool nights. Cold drinks,” (40). Manuel seems completely at rest but once his fingers start to burn he is reminded of the long, hard work he has ahead of him. Finally, Manuel's day of hard work had "ended!"(40). But, Manuel still had to deal with Roberto Morales. Barrio describes Morales as "one of them,"(40) even though he stole from the other workers. Barrio continues to describe Morales using short sentences, naming him a “crew chief” (40) and a “cannibal” (40). These words make him out to be a character without morals and no conscience. He ends the paragraph with short, choppy sentences in an angry tone citing the white, rich farm owners as cruel and careless because they can "sleep at night"(41) without worrying about what they are causing.
Barrio's next move is where all the action of the story takes place. He sets up the confrontation between Manuel and Morales. Morales tries to take "two cents"(41) from everyone. The dialogue is swift and brief while there is nothing to hint the speaker. The fact that the reader isn't spoon-fed who said what reflects the speed of the conversation and their reactions to eachother. Morales evetually gives up after Manuel threatens to spill all the hard work on the ground. This is also where Barrion gives strength to the workers in saying that they are a stronger forced united than one man alone as the "gasped as one"(41). At the same time, Barrio gives Manuel his first surge of strength as a man and as a human when he feels a “thrill of power course through his nerves” (41). Finally, Manuel knows what he is standing up for. He knows what makes him human underneath all the hard labor and routine life. He defended his pride and honor.
In conclusion, Barrio answers his question of what it is to be human. Manuel says that men "counted for something"(41). He compares his epiphane to that of Gaspar. Barrio implants 'Don Gaspar' in the story to reference a Spanish sailor in the early 1800's who changed his bad ways and became a more honorable man. Manuel's story shows that, as does Don Gaspar's, humans are not merely “insensibly, mechanically, antlike” (41) laborers. Without experiencing "a certain sense of honor and pride,” (41) they are bound to a piontless life and inhumane path which Manuel considers being "dead before they die" (41).

The last line of the story is Barrio's last move at establishing his take on what it is to be human. He very bluntly states that in order to be human, one mustn't disregard his feelings and thoughts and substitute them with responsibility or work. Barrio heeds the reader to remain personal throughout life because each person's life is their own and defending it is what makes us human, and not machines. The feelings of pride and honor are what being human is.

Michelle said...

Freedom In A Being
Raymond Barrio uses different literary techniques to emphasize what it means to be human in his short story, Plum Plum Pickers. Through his choice of sentence structure, repetition, symbol, and allusion, Barrio points out the characteristics of a human life to the reader. His stress on certain sentences and his idea of time influences the ideas of freedom and morality, important features of being human.
Barrio’s short, fragmented sentences in the first paragraph of his short story are suppressed and blunt. “There had to be an end. There had to be. There—trapped”. This interrupted sentence flow conveys a theme of suppression that the narrator is feeling. “No matter which way he turned, he was trapped in an endless maze of apricot trees, as though forever, neat rows of them, neatly planted, row after row, just like the blackest bars on the jails of hell”. This allusion to “the jails of hell” is an obvious example of the narrator, Manuel Gutierrez’s limitations as a human being, and the main conflict in Barrio’s short story.
These short fragmented sentences that are repeated and highlighted also influence Manuel’s characteristics. Barrio repeats the words “brute”, “animal”, and “trapped”, among others, to describe his main character and provide a setting to his later conflict. “Brute. He felt alone. Though surrounded by other pickers. Beast. Though he was perspiring heavily, his shirt was powder dry. Savage”. These fleeting adjectives and nouns lack any verbs. As a verb is a word of action, Barrio suggests that a human also lives in action and that Manuel, a man of manual labor, lives in a world of no action of his own except for his tedious workday, “He stopped and walked to the farthest end of the first row for some water, raised the dented dipper from the brute tank, drank the holy water in great brute gulps so he wouldn’t have to savor its tastelessness, letting it spill down his torn shirt to cool his exhausted body, to replenish his brute cells and animal pores and stinking follicles and pig gristle, a truly refined wreck of an animal”.
It is only until Manuel gets to his lunch break, that the machine allusions end and the sentences have detail and verbs. This reference to lunch, to a downtime, builds Barrio’s character as more than just a programmed persona. “That short rest in the hot shade replenished some of his humor and resolve. He felt his spirit swell out again like a thirsty sponge in water”. As Manuel gets back to work, to his suppression, the sentence structure goes back to its original sporadic form. “Then up again. The trees. The branches again. The briarly branches. The scratching leaves. The twigs tearing at his shirt sleeves. The ladder. The rough bark. The endlessly unending piling up of bucket upon box upon crate upon stack upon rack upon mound upon mountain”
Barrio also uses time as a way of influencing his theme of freedom as a human quality. He speeds up the time in the beginning to portray a sense of Manuel’s subjugation to his work and his boss, Roberto Morales. By limiting even the time Manuel has in a day, limits him from thinking about anything but work. This fast-paced timely setting degrades Manuel’s personal time for himself as a human being. “Lunch” and “Midafternoon” are single paragraphs excluded from the rest of the short story which is also symbolic to how Roberto Morales, robber of morals, treats his workers.
This sense of limited time is also used to depict the life of Manuel outside of his work. “The summer’s fierce zenith passed overhead. It passed. Then dropped. It started to light the ocean behind him, back of the hills. Sandy dreams. Cool nights. Cold drinks” These suppressed fragmented sentences lead up to a longer, more detailed narrative, a rare occurrence in Barrio’s short story so far. “Soft guitar music with Lupe sitting beside him. All wafting through his feverish moments”. The reader is finally able to see Manuel outside of work, in his free time. He is now a character and a protagonist. The imagery that Barrio uses to highlight Manuel’s freedom outside of work also comes into play as the final conflict between Manuel and Roberto Morales is introduced. “Suddenly the whistle blew. The day’s work was at last ended. Ended! The contratista Roberto Morales stood there”
The antagonist to Manuel as a human being who possesses freedom and morals provides a conflict that is no longer animalistic or machine-like. Barrio uses allusions to the Spanish culture juxtaposed with the English culture to emphasize the betrayal Roberto Morales commits on workers. “And what did the gueros care? So the anglo growers and guero executives, smiling in their cool filtered offices, puffing their elegant thin cigars, washed their clean blond bloodless dirtless hands of the whole matter. All they did was hire Roberto Morales. Firm, fair, and square. For an agreed-upon price. Good. How he got his people down to the pickings was no concern of theirs”. To describe this real animal, this antagonist Roberto Morales, Barrio again uses short fragmented sentences to portray him, “A real robber. A Mexican general. A gentlemanly, friendly, polite, grinning, vicious, thieving brute. The worst kind. To his own people”
Manuel’s first independent act involves his rebellion towards Roberto Morales. “‘You promised to take nothing!’ Manuel heard himself saying” This first act of dialogue by Manuel represents his freedom and more importantly, his freedom to protect his morals against the betrayal and theft of Roberto Morales. It also symbolizes the courage Manuel slowly builds, as any human being does when faced with such challenges. As Manuel continues to rebel, the sentences are detailed and less loosely narrative. “Then, with his last remaining energy, Manuel lifted his foot and clumsily tipped over his own last bucket of cots. They rolled away in all directions around everyone’s feet”. Barrio uses this narrative writing to elaborate the climax of his short story. Manuel, his protagonist, is finally not only a human being in a world of immortality and the monotonous motions of work life, but a human being in defiance to all of that. “He had never won anything before. He would have to pay for this, for his defiance, somehow again, later. But he had shown defiance”. These reflective sentences in the narrative show an understanding of the qualities to a human life. They also become, as the short story comes to its conclusion, more intelligent. There are more evolved observations to life as well. “And is his slow way, in his stupid, accidental, dangerous way, Manuel had made an extravagant discovery, as Don Gaspar had also made two centuries before, in almost exactly the same spot. And that was—that a man counted for something”.
Barrio’s final emphasis on freedom and morality shines in Manuel’s final narrative. “For men, Manuel dimly suspected, are built for something more important and less trifling than the mere gathering of prunes and apricots, hour upon hour, decade upon decade, insensibly, mechanically, antlike. Men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride”. Of course, in true Barrio fashion, his final point to this theme of a human being’s meaning in life is excluded in its own paragraph, a fragmented sentenced emphasized by its importance. “Or else they are dead before they die”.