Parrot in the Oven

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Throughout Parrot in the Oven mi vida by Victor Martinez there are stories of a young chicano male living in poverty with a dysfunctional family unable to provide examples that every child needs growing up. The child is faced with dealing with the death of his grandmother, his sister's miscarriage, and initiation into a local gang. Many of the experiences that Manuel lives through were also experienced by Victor Martinez growing up. In a sense, Victor Martinez is using this group of stories to tell the reader the lessons he has learned growing up from such a poverty stricken childhood. The major lesson in this story is when Manuel is being initiated into a gang and is forced to partake in a robbery of an old woman. While Manuel does not actually have anything to do with taking the woman's purse he is witness to the robbery and is run down by the cops. When the cops question Manuel and man selling papers in the street defends him in saying that Manuel had nothing to do with the robbery of the old woman. Manuel had not experienced many acts of this sort of kindness ever before and was surprised to see this man help him. The reader can come to the conclusion that the old man had much of the same background as Manuel and understood where he was coming from. This event changed to Manuel's views towards many things. While Manuel does many things in this story that would be looked down upon by society, the author wants the reader to have compassion for the young boy and understand how he was not blessed with as many gifts as most children growing up. The author conveys this theme very well and truly helps the reader increase their compassion for those less fortunate.
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