Wednesday, March 26, 2008

These Feel Feel Feeling

In Raymond Barrio’s “The Plum Plum Pickers,” Barrio uses the idea of being a human by using names and religion to symbolize the humane ways of life. The author uses contradictions within his sentences to show how the characters in the story are mechanical in some ways but are still human when it comes to feelings and emotions. Barrio also uses the setting to describe these emotions more throughout the story. The main character at first feels trap, then relaxes only to them feel imprisoned again, all until he sets himself free by removing himself from his own mechanical ways.
In the story, the main characters name is Manuel which symbolically relates to the manual labor he mechanically does every single day of his life. Also the word man can be found within his name which relates to the theme of being human that Borrio stresses throughout the story. The character Roberto Morales is symbolic also because Roberto connects to the idea of being a robber and Morales means morals less. The story also uses a lot of religion references which relates to being human because in most religions God provides life to earth. “smiling in their cool filtered offices, puffing their elegant thin cigars, washed their clean blond bloodless dirtless hands of the whole matter. (par.8)” Connecting to religion is this idea of Pontius Pilot who also can be mistaken for Roberto robs Jesus, or Manuel of his life. Roberto takes away his ability to live life because every day he makes Manuel work picking apricots. The author connects this to the theme of what it means to have a life and be human.
The author uses paragraph two to three to show how once Manuel begins to feel human his machine ways take over and robs him of his life. The author uses words such lines such as “Sandy dreams. Cool nights. Cold drinks. Soft guitar music with Lupe sitting beside him. (par.3)” to describe the little things humans appreciate in life. However he soon contradicts himself by switching back to mechanical ways of life, “Tiredness drained his spirit of will. Exhaustion drained his mind. (par.3).”
The author theme in “The Plum Plum Pickers” is that being human means more then just working in fields all day for a living. At the end of the story, Manuel reclaims his humanity by taking down the machines that corrupted him for too long. “Men are built to experience a certain sense of honor and pride. Or else they are dead before they die. (par.24)” The author is saying that if men work all their lives like machines they might as well be dead because they miss out on that feeling of pride and honor that every man should experience while he is alive. This connects to Barrio’s theme of what it means to be human, it’s the feelings that we cherish that keep us alive.
Barrio keeps the theme going throughout the entire story until the very last sentence. He uses his characters to demonstrate to the reader that if one works all their life trying achieve something mechanically then that one loses their life. If humans were meant to be machines they would be however humans are giving the ability to feel which Manuel finally learns at the end of the story.

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