Drown: Negocios & No Face Handout

Discussion by Ernie Abreu & Nelson Veras

Summary (Negocios)

*Cheats on wife, lies to father in-law in order to secure money and come to U.S to make more money
*When arriving in Miami, he sends money to support family but eventually stops
*Gets new job, gets married, and starts a new family
*Starts to lose connection with family and meets new people in the United States that constantly remind him to support his family
*Eventually he brings his family from D.R to the U.S but still walks out on them
Selfish
*“He didn’t dreamed about his familia and wouldn’t for many years. He dreamed instead of gold coins, like the ones that had been salvaged from the many wrecks about our island, staked high as sugar cane” (pg. 169)
*Ramon acted defensively when Needle challenged him as to why he was not supporting his family.  In Ramon’s defense, he stated that he has bills to pay for, claiming that his house electricity bill is high due to having 88 light bulbs.  In result, Needle calls him “Come mierda.  Nobody has that many light bulbs in their house” (p. 187).
*“She called Papi a desgraciado and a puto of the highest order for abondning them, a traitor worm, an eater of public lice, a cockless, ball-less cabron” (pg. 191-92)
Discussion Questions
*When accepting the money, Was Ramon’s true intention to provide for his family or did he seize this opportunity to escape his life in DR?
*What are some comparisons we can draw from Papi and the other father figures we’ve read about so far? Focus more on the negative comparisons, such as different acts of selfishness.
*At what point do you think Ramon’s selfishness took over his ideal goal of providing for his family?
*Quote on page 164
Pride
*“Eulalio wasn’t paying culo for rent. Which explained why he had so many fine clothes and didn’t work nearly as much as the rest” (pg.174).
*“…jump right into the lowest branches of the American establishment. That leap was what he envisioned for himself, not some slow upward crawled through the mud” (pg. 190).
*“He talks a big game but when you’re at the final inning, you get nada” (pg. 205).
Discussion Questions
*How do you feel about Ramon bashing on Eulalio’s freeloading meanwhile he is in the same predicament?
*At what point in the story do you feel like Ramon could have “swallowed” his pride, which would have altered his life?
*To what other Latino characters does Ramon’s ego and pride mostly relate to?
Chances
*“One night Abuelo handed papi a cigar box stuffed with cash.  The bills were new and smelled of ginger.  Here it is.  Make your children proud” (Pg. 166)
*“He lived in Nilda’s house, shared her bed, paid no rent, ate her food…” (Pg. 186)
*“He work through that period, got a raise and the highest performance rating in his department and the shittiest schedule in the entire fabrica” (Pg. 194).
Discussion
*Although he was given many chances as seen on the quotes, do you feel that he deserved these chances, despite his high level of  selfishness?
*Considering his few sacrifices, do you feel Ramon had the potential to be a good provider for his family?
Summary (No Face)
*A male with no name or age that has fallen to social injustice because he doesn’t fit in due to his appearance.
*Feels like a superhero, fighting these injustices (evil).
*Finds himself in a conflict between fearing an operation that can change his life and running away from society for good.
No Face
*“we’re going to make you a girl… You ever been a girl before?… He says STRENGTH and the fat boy flies off of him and he’s running down the street and the others are following” (pg. 156).
*“So many wish him to fall.  So many wish him gone” (pg. 155).
*“I’ve been fighting evil” (pg. 160).
*“He runs, down towards town, never slipping or stumbling.  Nobody’s faster” (pg. 160).
Discussion Question
*Based on these quotes, what do you think is the overarching theme of the story?
*What do you think he is trying to run away from?
*Did you like this story, or was it a little to vague to understand?
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