12 CP Period 1
20 Oct 2010
“Plum Plum Pickers” essay.
In “Plum Plum Pickers”, Raymond Barrio suggests that a man is built to “experience a certain sense of pride and honor” (94). “Man has to count for something or else he’s dead before he dies.”(94) He establishes this by telling us the story of an immigrant worker. Raymond Barrio tells us about Manuel’s feeling just to help us realize how hard he works and most important how bad he feels when working. Raymond Barrio’s point of view can be connected to human lives because they all have problems and needs, but them, and only them, should stand to defend it. They’re the one suffering from their mistakes, so they need to stand up and claim their needs.
Raymond Barrio exposes his skills first by sensitize the reader on the exterior appearance such how Manuel saw the environment. “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 hells.”(91) Then he let us know about the protagonist’s feelings. “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 too exhausted body, to replenish his brute cells and animal pores and stinking follicles and pig gristle, a truly refined wreck of an animal, pleased to meetcha.” (92)
He narrates the hard working days of Manuel, the immigrant, by including expressions and repetitions that tells how long and how tedious is his labor. Manuel “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 of the jails of hell”(91) accentuates the feeling of Manuel that was not enjoying work at all. He felt like a prisoner confined into a jail.
Barrio includes allusions such as “the holy water”, as well as comparisons: “the holy water” (92) and “jails of hell” (91) and also connects Manuel’s feelings with the environment in which he’s working. Manuel “was trapped in an endless maze of apricot trees… There had to be a respite. Animal…Though surrounded by other pickers. Beast.” (91) Manuel sees himself as an animal; Barrio used this technique to communicate the loneliness of Manuel, the absence of communication between him and the other pickers. And as an “animal” (91), or a “beast” (91) he felt in jeopardy, trapped. An animal that feels uncomfortable with its environment won’t enjoy anything not even his “Lunch.” (92) Manuel, “almost too exhausted to eat, munched his cheese with tortillas, smoked on ashes, then lay back on the cool ground for half an hour.”
Manuel doesn’t enjoy anything at the job, not even his lunch. And as a Mexican that likes to curse when they make fun of him, he couldn’t dare answer Robert due to the extent of his fatigue. ““Whatsamatter, can’t you see straight, pendejo.” Said Robert. Manuel was too tired even to curse.” (92)
Next he introduces the antagonist and his state of mind. “A gentlemanly, friendly, polite, grinning, vicious, thieving brute.”(92) He continues with the catalyst. “Now I must take two cents from every bucket. I am sorry. There was a miscalculation. Everybody understands. Everybody? ” (93) And finally, he tells about the confrontation of both, the protagonist and antagonist.
In the afternoon, while the pickers were starting to get a break from “the summer’s fierce zenith”(92), Roberto Morales, the antagonist, came to announce that he will take two cents from every bucket, meaning two to three dollars from every picker. After such a hard working day, under the sun, with the feeling of being condemned, Manuel felt like he was asking for his heart. So in that case, Manuel couldn’t do so. He had to respond “With the last remaining energy, he lifted his foot and clumsily tipped over his own last bucket of cots.” (94)
Raymond Barrio sets up this really sharpened situation: “Now I (Morales) must take two cents from every bucket.”(93) Manuel finally establishes his point which he resumes with Manuel standing against Morales, the “vicious thieving brute.”(92) “You promised to take nothing!”(93) The meaning of the text is communicated through diverse point of the story, such as when Robert happens by and had an observation designed to injure Manuel but he didn’t even answer. He also expresses his point in Manuel revolting against Morales for asking money to the pickers. Manuel showing that he had “a certain sense of honor and pride” (94): “Manuel heard himself saying. Everyone turned in astonishment to stare at Manuel.”(93)
Barrio’s advice in the text is for all human to stand up for their rights and to never support people abusing others. He calls for a revolt of the dominated and awareness for those who abuse.