Juan Rubin is the father of the main character, Juan fought in the Mexican Revolution under Poncho Villa. When Poncho Villa was killed by his rivals, Juan knew that his and his families’ lives were not safe. Having always wanting to visit California, Juan decided to leave Mexico. When he reached America, Juan made a living by picking cotton and sharecropping. Soon after, Jean’s wife Consult gave birth to Richard, the only boy Of many sisters. Both parents openly admit that Richard is their favorite child. Richards childhood was a difficult one.
His biggest obstacle while growing up as that his parents were Mexican, while his peers and classmates were all American. Richard had a hard time adjusting to his new surroundings and because of this becoming educated was extremely important to him. In this way Richard is presented as a child who is interested in the American way of life. This caused conflict with his father, who believed Richard should honor and learn about his own Mexican culture, beliefs and language. The boy faces difficulties when he has to restrain himself from showing his feelings towards the American culture.
He instead pretends to honor his father’s wishes to please his family. Over time however, Richard continues to take an interest in reading. He said his favorite book was about a boy and a monkey, and that “he’s read it six times” (Villager, 73). He learns to read and write in English. This is when his father begins to realize that Richards interests and talents were not the same as his. When Richard is nine years old, he goes to his First Confession. He gets very confused by what he hears at Catechism. Richard wants to have faith and believe, but he is very inquisitive.
When Richard goes to confession, the priest asks him if has ever played with himself and if he has ever played with or touched his sister. The boy, misunderstanding. Innocently answers yes to all three questions, recalling that his mother makes him play with his sister. This is a great example of how the cultures differ. Richard though he was referring to play time with his siblings and it all turns out to be a misunderstanding,. Juan Rubin in the meantime was always against practicing the American culture, values and beliefs.
He and his family face several difficulties while adjusting in a new country and a different culture. They become victims of their failure to adjust in a futuristic society. At the same time, his dreams Of returning to Mexico and having Richard become a vaquero were fading. Juan still had hopes of going back to Mexico and having Richard become a lawyer or doctor there. Richard instead, would read to his parents at night, hoping to teach them to understand the American culture better. He wanted his parents to change with their new surroundings, but Juan imposed his Mexican beliefs on his Pooch children.
Eventually Juan ends up buying an apartment for his growing family. This is when Juan realizes that his dream of returning to Mexico is truly gone. He starts to drink more and is unfaithful to his wife. During this time Richard was bullied in school and by friends because he was practicing conflicting beliefs in his new society. As time passed, Richard started discovering himself and differences between the two cultures. He attended parties and events hosted by American’s, in order to familiarize himself with their culture and tradition.
Initially, he is brought up to believe that he is superior to American people, but soon he realized that this concept will cause him to be completely lost in his new surroundings. Living in America has a marked effect on Richards mother. In Mexico, a wife is utterly subservient to her husband and family with no voice Of her own. Consult hears the talk of her neighbors, and she begins to long for a life where her opinion matters. One night at dinner, she accuses her husband of seeing other women. Juan hits her and tells her that it is none of her business what e does.
After he storms out, she cries and tells her children that in this new country, a man who beats his wife will be sent to jail. Over time Consult stands up for herself more and more, and she listens to the gossip of her American neighbors. She continues to accuse Juan of being unfaithful, and so he obliges her by going to see various other women. They end up staying in separate bedrooms, and sometimes Juan cooks for himself. Consult lets the house get filthy, as though the dirtier it gets, the more she is liberated from her role as a servant in her own home.
These conditions quickly turned Richard into a mature, young man. Because of his families teachings however, he is reluctant to discussing his desires and adult concerns with anyone. The relationship that he had with his family by now is completely dysfunctional. Everyone is worrying about their own life, and not about the families. The impetuous actions of Juan Rubin turned him into a person inclined with the very society he did not want to be a part of. He eventually leaves his family. Richard realizes that ‘the family was undergoing a strange metamorphosis” (132).
In the end of the book, Richards mother tells him that he is now the man of the house and that she expects him to take care and support the family now that his father has moved out and wants to marry another woman. She asks that he stops going to school and start working. Richard wanted to stay in school and become a writer. Based on traditional Mexican beliefs, as the only male Of the house, he would be forced to support the entire household. Richard feels his mother is taking advantage of him.