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Paper Topic:

El tonto del barrio (Jose Armas)

Running Head : Tonto del Barrio A Strong Sense of Community in El Tonto Del Barrio



A Strong Sense of Community in El Tonto Del Barrio

Jose Armas penned the short story , El Tonto Del Barrio as homage to his New Mexico Chicano roots . The story illustrates the important dynamics that make up a community and show the importance of every member in its upkeep and survival . Every citizen has a place in the neighborhood and the dynamics of how they interact are often misunderstood or exploited by those

who think they know better , as is the case in El Tonto Del Barrio

El Tonto Del Barrio revolves around Romero Estrada , El Tonto , or The Dummy ' and the small Hispanic town he lives in . The story is told in third person narrative and gives the reader a good impression of the character of the people involved through their actions , reactions and dialogue . The town of Golden Heights Centro is portrayed as a close-knit community of largely uneducated people

Without using any imagery , the reader is swept into the neighborhood and Romero 's part in it from the very first paragraph . With nothing more than pitifully inadequate Social Security benefits to sustain himself Romero performs a duty for the town and its people . It is Romero 's daily routine to clean the sidewalks and sweep away the trash . Afterward , as reward for a job well done , he visits Barela in the barbershop , who sometimes lets him sit in the barber chair . Even when Romero gets .too drunk at the Tres Milpas Bar (page ) and walks the neighborhood professing his love for everyone , he is tolerated by the people of Golden Heights Centro . According to Barela .everyone likes him and takes care of him (page ) and he is respected for his place in the community

Romero is simple-minded and quite content to do what he considers his job until Seferino , the barber 's son , decides to pay him fifty cents each day for sweeping in front of the barbershop . Seferino errs in thinking he can improve the dynamics of how the community and Romero interact . The barber 's son clearly feels he is superior to Romero and decides to help the unsuspecting , simple-minded man by offering to pay him . While Barela has his doubts about the wisdom of paying Romero for his sweeping efforts , he reasons that Seferino is one of the few in the community to finish high school and go on to college and so he must know better . Once content to simply do a good job , Romero now quickly demands a raise from Seferino , claiming that I helped you many years (page . Seferino refuses to give in to his demands and Romero merely stops sweeping . No longer do the people in the neighborhood hear Romero singing or see him plying his broom . It is not long before Romero quits doing his sweeping altogether and the sidewalks become dirty once again Eventually he returns to his job...

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