Richard Martinez Professor George LIT413 September 29, 2011 Theme Essay Today there are many different pieces to choose from in literature.This paper will be discussing the two novels of Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez and The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols.Zoot Suit is also a play and The Milagro Beanfield War was made into a film.
Zoot suit is actually the first Hispanic play to be written. It is to be the only Hispanic play that exists today. The main character in Zoot Suit is Henry Reyna the leader of the 38th street gang.
The main character in The Milagro Beanfield war is Joe Mondragon a hardworking family man. These two pieces of work have some of the same themes but one that stands out the most is the Hispanic culture. Zoot Suits Description The main character in the novel Zoot Suit is Henry Reyna and he is the leader of the 38th street gang. There is also the narrator which was called Pachuco meaning a Hispanic gangster who dressed really nice in that time in a Zoot Suit, clean cut, slick back hair, and belonged to a neighborhood gang.
A Zoot Suit is a suit that has a long coat with wide shoulders, baggy pants but cuffed tight at the bottom with a big chain hanging on the side from the wallet pocket to the front belt loop. Hispanic gangs have been around for years now and are still on the rise. Many Hispanic gangs set new trends and tried hard to fit in with others. In the 1940’s Zoot Suitors’ were the popular gangs of the Hispanics and even some African Americans. In this story there was even a Caucasian in the 38th street gang. The Zoot Suit gangs originated in Los Angeles and expanded to New York and other big cities.
Henry Reyna Henry Reyna is a young man trying to join the navy. Henry ends up getting blamed for the crime Pachuco committed. Henry was tried with many of his Zoot Suit amigos. It was a fishy trial to begin with his only way out was to be convicted and filing for an appeal. During the trial Henry’s defense attorney was incapable of getting any objections. The judge was Caucasian and was prejudice and was on the prosecutions side. During this time frame Hispanics were not treated very well. In the 1940’s Hispanics were looked down on. Hispanics were at the bottom of the food chain.
Many time Hispanics were frowned upon because of the crimes committed by Hispanics and not the good things that were done by Hispanics. Hispanics were always stereotyped by Americans. Language In Zoot Suit there is strong language used. There is also Spanish used as well as Spanish slang. Many nicknames were used to refer to certain people. There was also profanity used that made the book more exciting to read. It brought out the emotion in characters. Enrique Reyna, Henry’s father mentioned that calling Hispanics Chicanos means trash and to say Mexicanos instead because it is a better term to use.
Many of the terms used in this book are only going to be heard by veteranos today, or Hispanic gangs. Huisa today is not a common word used in today’s society. Conclusion Zoot Suit and The Milagro Beanfield war are both Hispanic novels that are similar to one another in many ways. The themes for these novels are culture and pride between the characters of Henry Reyna and Joe Mondragon. These two individuals are both strong individuals that carry a lot of pride because that’s the way that Hispanics carry themselves. Hispanics fight for what is right.
Today Hispanics still get mistreated because of their skin color and the gangs that they affiliated with. Both Henry Reyna and Joe Mondragon had to deal with the people in order to accomplish their goal. Henry Reyna had to fight to prove his innocence. Joe Mondragon had to fight to have his beanfield. Another common thing in these novels is Hispanics fighting Hispanics. This situation still exists in society today. Not just Hispanics but everybody is trying to fit in. ? References Nichols, John. The Milagro Beanfield War. New York, 1974, 1994. Print. Valdez, Luis. Zoot Suit. 1992. Print.