Summary of Jose Armas "El Tonto Del Barrio"

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Summary of Jose Armas "El Tonto Del Barrio"

By | November 2008
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Humbleness and charity towards one another is one of the lessons “El Tonto del Barrio” illustrates to the readers through the protagonist of the story, Romero Estrado. The story begins describing with very specific details the life of “El Cotorro” or Romero. Mr. Armas continues the story inviting all of the people from “El Barrio” to come along in the story to show their influence in the life of Romero. Summarizing what happens in the story, Mr. Romero seems to be the happiest person from el Barrio. He always whistles joyfully and sings songs as he sweeps the sidewalks every morning for all of his neighbors. The Tortilleria America, The XXX Liquor Store, and the Barelas Barber Shop are some of the places he stops by to clean. Everybody in the neighborhood greets him and they all pay him with food and protection but not with money. The story seems to go well until Seferino, the son of Mr. Barelas, comes along. Seferino decides to pay fifty cents to Romero for sweeping the sidewalk of the Barber Shop, but the problems begin when El Cotorro starts to demand a raise in his pay. Seferino refuses to give him the raise; therefore, Romero stops doing his job and his personality of a good guy seems to change to being a drunk and rude person. Towards the end of the story Romero returns to being his old self again, and ironically the reasons for his change appears to be because of the departure of Seferino to college. However, the neighbors believe that it is the effects of the moon that have affected Romero’s behavior.

I honestly believe that Seferino is not a bad person; he is just trying to help a person who deserves to be paid for his efforts in keeping the barrio clean. I imagine that the neighbors know how Romero is, so they do not feel they are abusing his willingness to keep the barrio clean. On the other hand, I think that in some way Romero is offended by Seferino for the fact that he is paying him for what he does. I consider that the message of this story is...
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