Buildings, Freeways and Shadows of The Tattooed Soldier (Final Draft)
Downtown Los Angeles is one of the busiest commercial centers in the United States. However, the city holds two groups of people in different economic level-the homeless and the working class. Hector Tobar frequently includes the landscape of the setting in downtown Los Angeles in The Tattooed Soldier. The novel is about two immigrants from Guatemala who have moved to Los Angeles. The protagonist, Antonio, takes a revenge on the antagonist, Longoria because he murdered Antonio¡¦s wife and son when he was a Guatemalan soldier. Tobar applies a number of metaphors to connect the buildings and freeways in downtown to Antonio¡¦s position in the city. Buildings, freeways, and shadows are metaphors for Antonio¡¦s economic and social status.
Tobar uses description of buildings to reinforce Antonio¡¦s economic and social position in life. He informs the reader about the squat apartment buildings when the protagonist is on the way to a homeless camp, which have a significant contrast with the skyscrapers where Antonio observes later. Everyone can see the skyscrapers, but not many people know the existence of the short apartments. Tobar uses the invisibility of these apartments to reflect the inferiority of the protagonist in Los Angeles. Antonio¡¦s existence is the least significant as an illegal immigrant. He is seen as a parasite that is not accepted by the city. The apartment owner, Hwang, even forces him to leave with a call to the police (9). On the other hand, the author also mentions the building with the ¡§Pacific Stock Exchange¡¨ sign and the windowless office buildings (12). The stock exchange building represents material life and the windowless building represents security. Antonio can observe these buildings that illustrate an ideal life, but he belongs to none of the qualities that are associated with these buildings. He is exposed to all the danger of the city with no money at all....
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