Immigrant Tragedy in the Cariboo Café

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Helena Maria Viramontes grew up in Los Angeles where relatives used to stay and live with her family when making the transition from Mexico to the United States. This is where she got her first taste of the lives of immigrants in this country within the urban barrios. Viramontes's writing reflects this theme along with expressing her political opinions on the treatments of immigrants, especially Chicanos and Latinos. In her short story "The Cariboo Café," Viramontes brings these ideas to life through three sections narrated by different individuals tied into the story. "The Cariboo Café" is a story of Chicano immigrants and a Central American refugee. Along with these characters is the owner of the Cariboo Café, who comes in contact with…show more content…
The speaker also talks of Nell, his ex-wife. Though there were things that annoyed him about her, he still speaks fondly of her. For instance, he remarks, "That's why Nell was good to have ‘round. She could be a pain in the ass, you know, like making me hang those stupid bells, but mostly she knew what to do." This allows the reader to see that the loss of his family has had a deep impact on him. He misses his wife and son and speaks of how families should be together, though his never will be again. This is what provokes him to do what he did next. The speaker sees a young sister and brother come into the Cariboo Café with their mother. He also sees this same woman and children on T.V. with the report that the woman kidnapped these children. He states that he does not ordinarily get involved in affairs like these; however, when the police show up at the café, he points them toward the bathroom where the woman and two children are. The third section changes speakers once again. The reader is now getting a first person narrative of a Central American refugee woman. In the first paragraph she speaks of her son, Geraldo, who has been taken away from her and put in the detainers. Her voice is much less harsh than the previous speaker. Hers is softer and pleading. Her tone is one of desperation, desperation for losing her only child. She pleads, It is such delicate work, Lord,

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