I really enjoyed reading the Circuit in class today, because I felt it was an accurate portrayal of what was happening during this time but the book is also written in a user friendly, easy to read manner. I especially enjoyed how the writer drew a parallel between the caterpillar and Francisco. His first day of school, Francisco notices the caterpillar who has yet to form a Chrysalis and become a butterfly. As we read, the first few days or weeks of school are tough and Francisco is not feeling the most confident. A few pages later, we see that the caterpillar turned into a butterfly, Francisco's drawing got a blue ribbon and he began to pick up a few words of English. We really saw how positive an outlook Francisco had on an honestly bleak situation, and how he emerged in a sense victorious, overcoming the obstacles in his way.
Your accurate statement towards the caterpillar and Francisco's school days conveys a greater understanding and comprehension of the reading. Good job!
Great job picking up on that symbolism!
Wow, I never thought of that, but it is totally accurate.
I didn't pick up on that symbolism between the caterpillar and Francisco. I think you have a very thorough reflection, and I liked that you elaborated on your findings on the caterpillar.
I love your symbolism it opened my eyes in a new way
The Circuit reading was very interesting from both a historical and personal perspective. It explored the childhood years of Francisco and his struggle through daily life. His actual character seems somewhat idealized; I hardly know of any children as nice as he was when so young. For example, he spends hours trying to save fish from suffocation after the rains end, even going so far as to give the last one to his neighbors, who put it in their goldfish tank. He gives his first prize drawing to the child who bullied him as a means of making amends and takes great interest in the caterpillar, which seems to form an allegory for his first year of school due to having a rough start but eventually becoming something beautiful. His depicted life does not lack disappointment though; the reading about him failing to receive his own soccer ball on Christmas allowed for a greater connection between the reader and the book; everyone's been disappointed over something in their life.
Great post! I agree it was an interesting read. The main character actually was the author. This story is autobiographical so it is interesting that you feel he was idealized.
Nice! I like how you picked up his joy in giving to others and how he is very unselfish.
I think that he could have actually been that nice, I've met some amazingly nice little kids like that before, it really is amazing!
I agree with you in that the disappointment about the soccer ball made the story more realistic, but I'm pretty sure there are lots of kids like Francisco that are needlessly nice.
Think: Reading this story made me think specifically about "Dairy of a Part-Time Indian", mainly because the narrator came from a poor place and did a bit of dangerous activities to keep himself entertained. Junior from "Part-Time Indian" usually kept himself entertained by hanging out with his rebel friend and causing ruckus around their town; while Francisco, at one point, associated himself with playing on train tracks, usually when it was about to arrive.
Above all else however, the reading itself reminds us of the things we take for granted. We are entering the mind of a poor boy from Mexico who seeks a better life. He is bullied, and while most others would seek revenge, he insisted on giving the bully a gift to make a truce. Not only are we thinking of our own experiences, being in his place, but we are also learning from a completely different point of view.
"I did not see the jacket again. Curtis got it but I never saw him wear it."
I was really struck by this entire passage so I had trouble finding a good specific quote. Francisco has very few material possessions in his life; his only treasures are some books stolen from the junk center. His teacher noticed he was cold and gave him a lost and found jacket. Unfortunately, the biggest and most popular boy in school claimed it was his and beat up Francisco. They both got in trouble, even though Francisco did nothing. The unfairness of the situation pales in comparison to the unfairness of their lives. It made me wonder how flippant I may be with my money or the things I own. Curtis could have claimed that jacket just to entertain himself or bully Francisco or maybe he did really lose it at the beginning of the year. Either way, Curtis didn't actually need a jacket. That jacket meant so much to Francisco and so little to Curtis. The less we have, the more we appreciate our treasures. I feel like we should always do our best to be grateful and take some time every so often to think about. It is difficult to imagine not taking certain luxuries for granted. It is so important to remain as grateful as we can manage, even in our luxurious and privileged lives.
I really like the quote you chose, as it struck me as well. You pretty much illustrated exactly what I was thinking when I read that scene.
Wow, nice job. I thought the same about the quote and how sometimes we forget how fortunate we really are.
I was thinking the same thing when reading this part! Poor Francisco! Your paragraph was beautifully worded and very insightful:)
Excellent post, Malia! It is great how you found meaningful insights of life through the text.
These chapters so far had made me think as to how hard it really was for immigrants during that time. I guess that I had never actually given thought into how rough the life of an immigrant really could be. It made me wonder of all of the hardships that they had went through in order for a better life for them and their families.
"I filled it with water and began picking up the dying fish from mud puddles, putting them in the can, and dumping them in the creek."
This part of the book made me smile, because I though it was so kind how Francisco decided to help some random fish he found in some mud puddles. It was a small thing, but something that a lot of people(especially people who aren't small children) probably would not think to do. There have been several experiments done where people test how absorbed a person is in their daily schedule, and whether they stop to appreciate the world around them, and this made me think of that. How many people would stop and at least notice that the fish were dying? My guess would be not many. So I find it interesting that it was a little boy from a poor family that noticed.
I also thought that part of the story was very interesting and precious, because you're right. Not many people would take the time out of their day and save the lives of the tiny fish that found themselves in shallow water. It also says a lot about Francisco's character.
Great post, it's interesting think about Fransisco's low position in society may contribute to his kindness and instinct to look out for others.
Great paragraph. It was very thoughtful and I love how you said it put a smile on your face! Great Job!
This quote made me smile too! I love the way how Francisco cared for the fish despite its condition. Very touching. c':
I, too, was very happy when he helped out the fish. Even though he didn't save them all, he made a difference. He is such a sweet boy.
“When I got tired of listening to the same stories told many times before, I watched our neighbor’s goldfish. From our window I could see into the next cabin where a fishbowl sat on a small table. I spent hours glued to our window, watching the goldfish glide in slow motion, stirring the jade green plants with its delicate fins.”
Perspective: I think that this story is a portrayal of a very different perspective of this time period, and I feel that this paragraph is a very good example of a child’s perspective during this time. While most kids nowadays would be bored senseless and complain at the prospect of being trapped in a tiny cabin all day, the main character is perfectly content watching a tiny goldfish swim by. Because he has nothing else to entertain himself with due to his family’s economic status, Francisco has learned to entertain himself with something a simple as a little goldfish owned by his neighbor. In our modern day, filled with ipads and video games and movies to entertain children who are bored, it is very interesting to see what daily life was like in a time where such luxuries were much more uncommon.
Wow, I didn't even think of it that way! I'm not sure I could watch the fish for hours, but I'm pretty sure i could entertain myself that way for a while.
That's a really good point! I love how in this time period, people were able to find little things to entertain themselves when there was nothing to do. Francisco's fascination with this fish is actually kind of cool. Most kids nowadays don't have the attention span to watch a video longer than a vine! He could stare at that fish for hours and be completely content. Francisco is kind of my favorite.
I really like the way you kept in mind that Francisco is just that, a child. It's easy to forget you're reading from the perspective of such a young boy. Your analysis really makes sense! :)
I quite like the entire stories focus on a young child- at least for now. It is exhilarating and interesting to hear a story from such an unexpected source, similar to how I felt with to kill a mockingbird.
When I began reading this book, the simple sentences annoyed me a bit, but as I continued, I started to feel that even though the book doesn't have complicated phrasing and that sort of thing, it's still an interesting and meaningful thing to read. It made me think of how lucky I am and how much I take for granted and also how much luck is involved in getting to where you want to be. All of the characters, even though they are in a terrible situation, are kind and respectful to others, whether they are in a similar, worse, or even better situation. I suppose it makes me come to the conclusion that their hardships made them better people, to some though, it can make them worse.
I'm not really sure any of that made sense but I really hope it did!
I like how honest you were about not necessarily liking the text, but that you were still able to find meaning in it as you continued to read.
I like that you kept reading it and found this great meaning. I agree that the hardships you go through can shape you into a better person.
"'It's yours,' I repeated, handing the drawing to Curtis." I don't know about you, but that was just about the cutest thing I've ever read. I think this just about sums up integrity! Curtis seems to be the last person Francisco would want to be nice to after the whole jacket situation. I would completely understand if Francisco tried to avoid Curtis! But no, Francisco out of nowhere decided to give away his prized drawing, just because Curtis said he liked it. Good job, little Francisco! I think he did this because was happy to be acknowledged in a positive way. The way I see it is that Francisco is kind of in another world when he's at school because he can't understand english. His art is a way for him to break through those barriers because anyone can appreciate art! Maybe there's a budding friendship in store for these boys!
Really great HOHAM reflection of that quote. It seems like Franciso and Curtis may not have the most prominant and tight friendship, but they;re closer than being just classmates. :)
I really like the HOHAM choice you made and the way how you explained how integrity shows in the quote. Great HOHAM paragraph!
Yup, I also thought his actions were pretty telling of integrity--he chose to make the right choice even though Curtis practically beat him up. Great reflection!
"That night, and every night for an entire year, we all prayed to el Santo Nino de Atocha as we followed the crops from place to place. During that time, Mama dressed Torito in the blue cloak and only took it off when it needed to be washed." (43)
T.F.W: Like many people in the world, religion plays a big role in the lives of this family. This makes me think about how much religion means to different people. Others stand by it through anything come hell or highwater while others don't hold themselves to it at all. Neither of these are wrong, faith is different for every person. You can come from a family who is religious but not share their views, you could come from a religious family and be religious, or you can have little to do with faith. This makes me feel intrigued on how people form their own views on religion. Sometimes people aren't religious and that's okay. I feel as if religion is more than what it seems. It can be more than a god or the earth, it's a security blanket too. When people are frightened, sad, worried, etc. most commonly turn to religion. What this makes me wonder is why? There is nothing wrong with religion or lack of religion, but where does this need for it come from? :)
Excellent analysis about religious influence! It seems more likely that the role of Catholicism is amplified due to the author's Mexican heritage; there are far greater Catholic and religious roots in Mexican culture than anywhere else.
My reflection is on the last paragraph of page 56, where Francisco's family celebrates christmas morning. I chose to reflect on this part of the book not because it necessarily stuck out to me more than any other part of the book, but because I feel that it represents the lifestyle of Francisco and his family. Francisco really wanted to get a ball for christmas, as he told us earlier in the chapter, but he, nor his siblings, got one. Instead, they got bags of candy (which I am pretty sure is something they didn't appreciate as much). However, Francisco's father gave his mother the handkerchief that was offered to them by the poor couple looking for any money. What I took away from this chapter was that even though they were giving each other presents, Francisco's father was able to give to others as well. Instead of providing his kids with a play toy, he did a charitable act which I find noble. The gift was not only for his wife, but for those who were in need in the same way his own family is/was. This is not a surprising action from him- he is constantly working extremely hard to provide for his family, practicing selfless behavior, for example sacrificing his own lunch time so that he can work more. He provides a great role model for Francisco and his siblings. What I really like about that is, thinking empathetically, how opposite he is from the mexican stereotype, and he always puts family first. People like him make me happy to be a human.
Very nice analysis, Jack. I enjoyed your observations on the Christmas gift scenario in relation to the father's character.
I really like the paragraph and I completely agree. I think that Franciso's father was very noble in his giving nature. Great job!
I agree completely about the opposite of the stereotype. It has always intrigued me, the fact that pretty much all of our stereotypes are the opposite of what the people we are using them on feel. In regards to the mexican stereotype, there are many people who are smart, resourceful and not at all lazy. its just always surprised me how they talked of it.
Feel: While reading 'The Circuit' one feels many emotions not the least of which is sympathy. The honesty with which the book is written allows the reader to truly feel what the narrator is feeling. Every thing that goes incredibly wrong or miraculously right is felt by the reader. The emotion displayed by the author while being very simple because of his age at the time is also incredible impactful. So far 'The Circuit' has been a very interesting and emotion evoking read that I hope to continue.
(sorry it posted before I was done)
The book really makes the reader feel all of the highs as well as the lows. Every small story told evokes a new emotion, like the resigned disappointment of the christmas chapter or the emptying loss of his friend in the chapter El Angel De Oro.
(okay now it's done!)
I really enjoyed reading the circuit. It showed me such an interesting perspective that I've never thought of. I feel like it kind of connects to corra de la vida, however it's a bad thing that they don't know much english in the book. It's pretty sad that kids had to unwillingly go through all this at such a young age, and a lot people here think that growing up in a good house and going to a good school is an automatically deserved thing, but we should appreciate it more. This was a great read!
Wouldve been nice to have seen a quote, but I really liked how you talked about how it made you feel.
"When I got tired of listening to the same stories told many time before, I watched our neighbor's goldfish. From our window I could see into the next cabin where a fishbowl sat on a small table." (Jiménez, 45)
I think that Francisco can relate to the goldfish (please excuse the seemingly fatuous parallel being drawn) through their feelings of isolation, as expressed by the author. The think that the fish's glass bowl can also act as a representation of the numerous setbacks and limitations in Francisco's life that work to impede (or contain) upon his personal development. They also both live in foreign environments.
"English, English, she replied."
So far I am really enjoying the book so far. It reminds me a lot of The absolutley true diary of a part time indian. As panchito starts to make his way into society and school, it makes it hard for him as he can only speak spanish. The teachers used to hit his older brother with a ruler and tell him to try and speak english. It makes it hard for him to work with teachers when he can only speak spanish but it only makes sense as he is going to an american school and needs to learn the language. It would be like trying to go to a japanese school and speaking english there. It wouldn't make sense and it wouldn't be fair for the teachers to try and work with you if you only spoke a language they were unfamiliar with. Therefore he has a hard time socializing and he only hangs out with people who are familiar with spanish like Arthur. It must be hard to be in a school that you can't communicate with.
For many of us something as simple as a jacket could mean very little, we might even feel slightly entitled to such luxuries. However, when Francisco received that green jacket from his teacher, he was thankful, for once in his life he felt the same way all the other kids in his class felt, warm. But to have something stripped away so quickly seems horribly unfair, an unfairness that I know immigrants from all over the world face in America on a day to day basis. I don't know what it is like to struggle for the food on my table, but there are people in America that do, and that isn't fair in the slightest bit. Reading books like "The Circuit" help open readers eyes to the issues taking place so close to their homes, empowering them to do something about them.
I felt the same way when I read this part of the book. He was able to take so much from so little. Unfortunately, he had that part of him stripped away when Curtis took it back from him. Luckily he earned respect from Curtis after the picture he made for the class.
"I did not see the jacket again. Curtis got it but I never saw him wear it."
This quote really made me feel empathetic toward our main character's disposition. While I knew that he didn't know any english, I think that I felt like everyone can relate to the unfairness of little kids. I don't think any of us had completely smooth kindergarten years, but this really made me feel like he suffers from things that everyone goes through. Even though Curtis fought for the jacket, he never wore it again afterward and probably just wanted to take the green jacket. This makes our main character's situation much easier to grasp. I can't imagine going to school without knowing the predominant language, but now I sure feel like I'm seeing how it must be like. Our main character faces a challenge that none of us can relate to, but also deals with a lot of the same things we all dealt with at a young age.
"That evening I looked through the window into our neighbor's cabin. The goldfish swam peacefully alongside the gray fish." pg. 50
I feel like this quote to me shows that the goldfish and the gray fish are symbolical. To me, the goldfish represents harmony and luxury due to the color of the goldfish and the way the quote described how the goldfish "swam peacefully". Harmony could be a wish for stability. Since Francisco's family is broke, all they want is to be able to find work and be able to live a good and peaceful life in California. But at this moment, Francisco's family is going through a bad time because they have no work, no money, and no food meaning they are the gray fish; dull and hoping to make their lives better.
I would totally agree! I had the same thought on the symbolism of the goldfish.
this reading really made me feel, with how much people are taking forgiven, we see it as normal to have food on the table everyday, and there comes clean water out of the faucet, it just give you a feeling when the text describe it in such detail, so that it nearly feel like your are the character, and can feel the way he is feeling when it get described just as much so it feel like you are standing in his shoes.
Casper, I feel the same way! The way that Francisco accepts things is amazing to me. I think that people know what they have grown up in and unfortunately he had to grow up in that environment.
Oh and I think that the lower your starting place, the more you appreciate life.
I think that Fransisco's success in drawing a butterfly in school and winning a 1st place ribbon really boosted his confidence for the future. He no longer feels like an outcast, and realizes that he does have the potential to be successful alongside of his classmates. I also feel as if Fransisco's peers have more respect for him and will maybe try to put an effort into being his friend. I just wonder why he has such a facination for catipilars, butterflies, and goldfish? What does he find fascinating about the insects/ animals to the point where he can spend all day admiring what they do?
I too am curious about his fascination for these creatures. For future analysis you may want to include a quote.
"'It's yours,' I repeated, handing the drawing to Curtis."
It struck me that although this boy had nothing, although he struggled every day to understand the world around him and Curtis never made his life easier, Francisco showed him kindness. That is a lesson we can all learn from and I'm striving to grasp myself. I was surprised by Curtis when he took his coat back. But Francisco's mercy and almost naive treatment of him will perhaps influence Curtis into being more kindhearted. So far I have enjoyed the reading and I look forward to reading more about Francisco and his life.
I like the piece you responded too and what you said about Francisco giving his drawing. Next time, maybe, try expanding more on the self connection you made :)
I completely agree with you Sarah. He gives so much, even though he has so little.
"Shaking his head, Papa replied sympathetically, 'I am sorry paisano, but were broke too.' "
As I have been reading the Circuit I was reminded of something someone told me, that those with privilege are unaware of their privilege, and that this privilege is only sustained by people who don't have it. I suppose being unaware of privilege, indirectly contributes to inequality.
I feel the natural instinct when reading about Francisco and his family’s struggles is "Oh poor them, they have no money," but a true test is to consider your place in all of it and whether or not your subsequent privilege attributes to the degradation of others.
I found the beginning of this book very interesting to read, for it portrayed an accurate representation of what life was like for those who had immigrated from Mexico to America looking for jobs to keep their family thriving. I thought it was hard to believe how the narrator would find so much joy in living the life he has with his family. I also thought it was amazing how he would adapt to certain situations, for example when he was starting school in first grade he would watch the teachers actions and learn to analyze them into words of his language, and respond the best he could. He also found small ways of entertainment that kept him busy when his family was working, like fishing with his homemade fishing pole and taking care of his little siblings. I found it a little surprising that the narrator's parents keep deciding to have children, because the more children they have, the more expensive the entirety of the family becomes. Unless each child was an accident, I found that portion of the story a little strange.
It's interesting how you observed Francisco's overall joy in his new life in California. Do you think maybe that just by living in a land of opportunity, where there was always hope, life would be more enjoyable than in Mexico?
This story has been very interesting to listen through the lens of a child who has known nothing but poverty. When he first got a jacket, he loved it greatly, but when another child took it, he barely wore it. Material possessions are a rare thing to him and he was happy to get anything. His language barrier in education is an obstacle that seems to be a large part of the story and I wonder if it will continue to challenge him. Because of it, he was first ostracized, and I wonder if he will continue to be excluded.
I agree! I enjoyed your vocabulary and in-depth thoughts. I think that he loved the jacket because it was something that he could call "his". Even when he was talking about the ball that he wanted for Christmas, he kept saying "my very own ball". I was also curious about his language barrier and how far it would harm him in his education.
"I did not see the jacket again. Curtis got it but I never saw him wear it." I decided to choose this quote, because I personally thought that it was sad that Francisco's newly found jacket was taken away from the popular kid Curtis. From the little time that Francisco had the jacket it was obvious how much he loved it, because it was all that he had. I think in a certain sense that it was part of Curtis's jealousy that wrestled Francisco for the jacket, and that he never wore it again after that. Although if I were to see something that I'd lost long ago and saw someone wearing that thing, I would immediately want it back. So it's hard for me to say that Curtis did the wrong thing~
I enjoyed how you put yourself in both pairs of shoes and gave your opinion on both sides. Well done! It is always interesting to see/read things from another persons perspective, especially one that is opposite your own.
I have to admit, I didn't even consider Curtis' feelings on the matter. I just pegged him the bag guy of the situation. I wouldn't have stopped to think of his perspective, very Interesting Ryan!( I agree with Vivian too.)
This reading made me realize the hardships Curtis and his family experienced during the Great Depression. What I found really warming was that Curtis was so comforting and supportive to his little brother. His actions towards his little brother were very kind and helped his brother get through all the sadness the great depession brought them. So far I am finding this reading very inserting.
Habits of Heart and Mind Analysis
"If I learn to pick cotton, Papa will let me go with him, Mama, and Roberto, and I won't be left alone anymore!"
I chose unlimited potential for this quote/passage because Panchito is so excited to come to California and help his family and work and his parents won't let him. He is left all day to watch his baby brother and he believes that he has so much potential that can help the family. He wants to pick cotton with is mother and father and brother to help the family make more money. For example he even tried to pick cotton and worked very hard and when he was done he only picked enough to stand two feet tall so Panchito added dust to make it heavier so they get more money.
The author wrote this so simply, yet so beautifully. Through the eyes of a young child we get to see life's struggles as something unfortunate but real. Francisco doesn't understand the magnitude of the uncertainty of his daily existence, but instead finds the good in each situation he is thrown into. The most beautiful way to look at a bad thing is through a child's eyes because their world is almost like a smaller version of an adults, yet they worry about smaller things and focus on the good in life. Through Francisco, we get to see the struggles of immigrants -- the unfortunate truths.
For example, he loses friends without notice, he does not get a simple toy for Christmas, and he is afraid for his little brother. All of his worries translate to a bigger picture: the lack of work in both the US and Mexico, the lack of money because of the lack of work, and terrible living conditions (plus not enough money for health care).
What I find inspiring is the fact that he never mentions his living conditions. He has had to live in tents, sleep in leaves, and share a mattress with seven people. Not once yet has he complained about these types of things. It makes me realize how spoiled we are!
I completely agree with you on everything. They way the story is told so simply through the eyes of a child and yet it reveals actual struggles and issues that immigrants face. I love this analysis, however you may want to include a quote:)
I love all the points that you brought up. Especially the last ones, it's so true how we take everything for granted and are never thankful for things that we get in our every day lives.
"¿Como se dice 'es tuyo' en inglés?" I asked.
"It's yours," answered Arthur.
"it's yours," I repeated, handing the drawing to Curtis.
I thought this couple of phrases was one of the most pivotal points in the book, because the book relates Francisco giving his drawing of the butterfly to Curtis as an allegory to the butterfly hatching from the cocoon of the caterpillar, because the caterpillar is dull and slow, like Francisco and his view of school because of his language barriers. He has to transform, like the cocoon from the caterpillar, and move out of his comfortable zone, like the caterpillar and the butterfly.
I find your viewpoint on this quote to be very interesting. I chose to write about the same quote but looked at it from a different perspective. It's interesting how an interaction between two characters can be interpreted differently by two people.
"'I have something to tell you,' Mamá said teary-eyed as she took off his cloak. 'When we took Torito to the hospital, the doctor told us my son would die because we had waited too long to take him there. He said it would take a miracle for him to live. I didn't want to believe him,' she continued, gaining strength as she talked. 'But he was right. It took a miracle.'" pgs. 43 & 44
This reading overall just made me sad. I was so depressed when I read about how unfortunate this family was. As I read I was hoping that it would move past all the depressing things and be something happy, but that was not the case. The book just got more and more saddening as read. However this quote really shows how religion can affect someone or a family. This family so strongly believes in this religion that they thought that praying to a particular figure could actually cure the child sickness. I found this aspect really interesting. I also just liked this part in the story because it was somewhat on the happy side, and also seemed to provide hope for the family.
When reading this book in class, it made me think how blesses I am to have the things that I have, a house with warm water, food, clothes..etc. And back then it looks like they were lucky to even be working. This opened up my eyes more when it was through the lens of a children who didn't speak any english and tried his hardest to understand. To me this would be the most difficult thing to do. Also when he tried pushing himself to understand the book about butterflies and caterpillars was amazing. To me I would be very frustrated. I don't think I could ever imagine what life would be like if it was like that now.
"'¿Cómo se dice 'es tuyo' en inglés?' I asked.
'It's yours,' answered Arthur.
'It's yours,' I repeated, handing the drawing to Curtis." (Jiménez 26)
Out of the first several chapters of this story, this interaction between Francisco and Curtis stuck out to me because of Francisco's unconditional integrity that he showed. Curtis had attacked Francisco, destroyed his only jacket and embarrassed him in front of all his classmates and still Francisco did the right thing in giving Curtis the drawing. I think Francisco giving away his important drawing spoke to his family's emphasis on being respectful and having integrity in everything he did in life. For a boy who had so much less than everyone else, Francisco managed to keep his integrity in the most difficult of times.
I liked this part too. I felt almost like Francisco didn't understand the culture and how being treated poorly is not a good thing.
I chose the same quote and I agree, Francisco has nothing but still manages to give Curtis his drawing. Strong person!
"They to had received a bag of candy. Searching for words to tell Mama how I felt, I looked up at her. Her eyes were full of tears." (pg. 56)
Receiving a gift is not just about the gift itself, but about the care and compassion it takes to give something. From these first two chapters of 'The Circuit' we learn that Francisco's family is not finically well off. For a family with five children, during the great depression, finically needy to begin with, for the children to even get a gift is a tiny miracle. Even though Francisco wanted a ball so badly, he understands that this bag of candy is a big deal to his family. He doesn't complain, like a modern day child might, instead he puts on a brave face and moves on. Everyone can/should take that on that simple act, that a boy with nothing understands better than a child with everything ever could, understanding.
I agree with you Vivian. I was upset that they wanted more. But then again, they can dream right?
"As she began to wrap the gifts, silent tears ran down her cheeks."
So far, this book is very depressing. Sometimes, there are happy times but most of it is about how they suffer for being poor. When Torito got sick and seemed like he was about to die, I felt sorry that they really couldn't do much. They are a poor family, they don't really have much. It saddens me, to read every page because I know something bad is going to happen. Don't get me wrong, it is a great book. But it's just sad. Hopefully, it will get better for the family but I think in the very end it will. I have a feeling that someone important is going to die, making it even harder for them to survive. I want to know what happens but still I get so emotionally attached to the characters of books that I read.
This is a very true and very sad observation and analysis. It's true though, I think everyone is able to feel some kind of empathy for this family throughout the book.
" Papa tried to pry open Torito's mouth but could not. His Jaws were locked. Mama picked him up from the box and held him tightly against her chest." Please God, don't take him away please," Mama repeated over and over again. Torito slowly began to breath. His arms and legs relaxedI could see the brown color of his eyes again.
At this point of the story, they are definitely in a harsh living situation. I feel that Torito surviving was definitely a motive for them to keep working and doing what they are doing. They moved many times and every time it describes a new living situation it seems like they are making good progress. You can tell that their confidence in providing has gone up to because Torito is no longer the youngest, Ruben is. It also seems like Francisco has made good progress at school to, he does his best to try to grab books he finds so he can read them when he gets better at English. As I read, I still wonder if they are ever gonna get caught for settling illegally. I wonder if it will ever catch up to them.
I also wonder about whether or not they will be caught for their illegal actions. Keep in mind this is a different time period maybe laws were not as enforced as they are now.
"The shells sharp prongs scratched my hands like cat claws, and, sometimes, dug into the corner of my fingernails and made them bleed"
I do not know much about cotton, but Is it really painful to actually harvest, or is it that he is young and weaker than normal? Also, didn't they have the machines that would automatically harvest the cotton? I am not too sure about the whole who is paying them and stuff, though it may have something to do with it just being the kid and his not understanding either. Overall though, I am enjoying this book.
"If I learn to pick cotton, Papi will let me go with him, Mama, and Roberto, and I won't be left alone anymore!"
The HOHAM I used in this was that I connected with Francisco. He really wanted to help his family in a time of need. I have also gone through this stage in my life where I felt like I should've been a big supporter of my family. There was a time when my siblings were younger and my parents were trying to take care of them while also focusing on me. I did my best to do things on my own, that way my parents could focus on my siblings. By being supportive and helpful to the family both Francisco and I felt a sense of importance. Felt a sense of being helpful and selflessness. I believe every kid wants to be important and feel like they have been helpful.
I liked the connection that you did and how you related it to, not only yourself, but other people that have siblings as well.
"Besides lumber, I collected books, hoping to read them once I learned how." (pg. 30)
This quote really struck me while I was reading. Not only does it say he wants to learn english but he is dedicated and wants to learn as soon as possible. Once he does learn he wants to be able to read even though the books he's choosing have pictures at least he is happy to read. I related this quote with intellectual curiosity because he barley knows any english but he still has the intellectual curiosity of being able to read. It will be interesting to see his new perspective with the english language.
I couldn't really choose a quote after reading the few chapters. The whole time, I thought that there was going to be something that brought some light into the families life. It seems like every time they were close to happiness something had to come in ruin it. I found it quite saddening how there was so much tragedy, especially because this is based off a true story.
When Francisco's mom was pregnant, the first time, I thought that Torito would bring in some joy into their lives. I thought he was going to be the future generation and he would no longer have to be like his parents and actually get an education, but instead he just gets sick and it makes him parents worry more and it makes the main character question the choices that are being made.
I feel the same way Lisa, I really hope good times are coming their way.
Don't despair Lisa! We are still only a few chapters into the book, and, unfortunately, problems can't always solve themselves so quickly! However, there is always the possibility that things will always be bad for them. I suppose it's a glass half full/empty situation with this supposition.
"English, English." She repeated. pg.20
While reading this book it made see how lucky I am to have the education I am given. Francisco was eager to learn but never really was taught. He was stuck in a foreign place with no one to help him. I can only imagine how hard that would be. I really enjoyed that he could still find fun and joy though, Francisco seemed to really connect with nature and animals. I think this is because they don't speak English or Spanish, a compiler or fish would never get mad at you for saying some wrong or being a certain way. I think that nature is Francisco escape, the friendship that is brings helps him cope with the hardships of life. I feel like everyone has that place they can go to, every once and a while its important to escape society and let your mind run free and just be you.
I agree, we have it easy. Francisco has to learn the hard way and try to learn it himself.
"¿Cómo se dice 'es tuyo' en inglés?' I asked.
'It's yours,' answered Arthur.
'It's yours,' I repeated, handing the drawing to Curtis."
This quote really stuck out to me because even though Curtis had attacked Francisco for taking his jacket, he still did the right thing by giving Curtis his drawing that he won 1st place on. This shows that even though someone does something mean and bad to you doesn't mean you have to be mean back to them. I really like how the author ends the chapter talking about this because it leaves you feeling good about how Francisco really is and how he treats people.
I think that most of us take a lot for advantage especially the little things in life. In this story Francisco comes from nothing in his home country of Mexico and begins a new life in California. They make the long journey out of there home town and across the boarder into California. Upon arrival in California Papi did not immediately receive a job like he was promised. When a job finally arose it l was not easy and required long, tiring days for not only him but his whole family. However, despite the hard work and little short time payoff, Francisco and his family realize that the long term payoff will be worth it at the end.
I like the whole way the story has kind of started, just like how everybody want a better life. So they come to California looking for jobs a better place to stay, and school for the kids. I like how determined Francisco is to learn English and pick cotton like the rest of his family, even though he sits in class every day trying to pick it up.
"'It's yours,' I repeated, handing the drawing to Curtis."
This part really struck me as a very inspiring piece of the novel that really illustrated young Francisco as a sort of hero. If it was not enough that he was going to school and attmepting to learn in a language he could not understand, he was involved in fights for reasons he failed to understand. His life was a real struggle but when he finally achieved something of accomplish in winning a first place ribbon for his portait of a caterpillar, he did something so selfless as to give it to the very kid that beat him up, just because that kid showed interst. It really grabbed at me and made me woner if I would have done the same thing. Sadly, I am almost sure that I would not have. Francisco's willingness to forgive and forget can be admired by all and he will be a very interesting character to watch as the novel continues.
"'It's yours,' I repeated, handing the drawing to Curtis."
I really found this quote to be quite interesting. It shows the growth of a class and a student were he started off with the kids looking at him with strange looks to the coolest kid in class who also did a number on you asking to see your piece of art and liking it, then you just giving it up like there were no tough feelings really displays a side that is rarely seen at all today in people of varying ages.
I really liked the quote you used, and how you connected it with yourself.
"Papa, who was sitting next to her on the mattress, lifted it's corner and pulled out from underneath the white embroidered handkerchief. He tenderly handed it to mama, saying 'Feliz Navidad, vieja.'"
I feel like in that one moment the love and unity of the family was put to display. The white handkerchief represented a place of peace and acceptance to me as a reader. After seeing the way the family struggled but stayed strong together, made me think positively for hopes of a happy ending to the story. The family went through so much from lack of food, clothing and even a well put together shelter but mostly the damage caused from the feeling of loss when Torito was sick. You would imagine families pulling apart, parting farther and farther into drugs and/or alcohol but not their family. The father worked as hard as always, maintaining a respectful place. My realization throughout the entire reading was, even as the expectations fell short and things went wrong time to time, the little things were the most that mattered, like when Francisco tried to save the fish, the new beginning, a new life when the caterpillar transformed to a butterfly, and last but not least the handkerchief. All these little symbols gave a positive look to the story like hope, new beginnings, life, and in peace at heart at last which continuously changed my perspective throughout the story.
"He really likes it, Francisco." Arthur said to me in Spanish.
"Como se dice "es tuyo" en ingles?" I asked.
"It's yours," answered Arthur.
"It's yours." I repeated, handing the drawing to Curtis.
I liked this part in the reading because even though previously, Curtis and the main character (His name escapes my mind at the moment) did not particularly like each other, he was able to just forget about it at once and decided that instead of making things worse/keeping them the same, he should be kind/generous instead.
It's nice that someone as young as the main character was able to think about that and make a good choice in that situation that most other people his age normally would not have done.
"I did not mind moving too much for the third time that year"
Out of all of the readings we've been assigned, this is the one I can connect to the most. Mainly because I know what he is going through and the difficulties he is facing in America. For him, having to deal with a new language, country, and culture is something that I can relate to. With most of my family being immigrants, I have seen and heard what it is like crossing la frontera as well as working long hours in the field. People come to America for a better life some people just dont see it that way. After living in the US I moved to mexico for a few years, and coming back to America not knowing any English was difficult. Since spanish was my first language, I know how he feels like when he needed to learn English at school. It was a problem beyond school but in neighborhoods, stores, streets, and everywhere you went. I understand how he feels with putting up with not only humiliation but feeling unwanted.
"Like magic a butterfly flew into the air, fluttering its wings up and down."
I really stuck with this quote because it really sums up Francisco at the time. He was in a country were he couldn't speak Spanish but he couldn't understand English either. He had one friend but he got beat up last week. His "way out" was to imagine things and try to learn what was going on around him. His mind was like the caterpillar. First he was in a new place that he didn't understand but he knew he needed to survive. Over time, he grew and changed as if he was in a cocoon. When he was ready, he emerged like a butterfly, ready to tackle his world but with a different perspective.
"But we don't have any money," Mamá responded, sobbing and looking sadly at Torito.
"We'll borrow, or... something," Papá said, putting his right arm around Mamà shoulder.
Imagine how the family felt at this point, knowing that their child could possible die, and part of it has to do with the fact that they don't have enough money to pay for the medical expenses. Hopeless and frustrated is probably how these parents felt. It's interesting seeing how powerful money really is, without it you can't do much, money is a necessity of life. When their mother was wrapping their christmas presents, she was crying, because she probably wished she could give her children. Still to this day, there's people who experience this type of lifestyle.
"'Is he dead?' I cried out. 'No, Panchito; calm down' Papa answered. 'We left him at the hospital.' 'Is he going... to die?' I stammered. 'No, he isn't,' Mama snapped."
This quote struck me because of the struggle Francisco was going through. On top of moving and going to a new school where he can not understand anyone, he now has to worry about his brother who is sick. There is a lot of frustration involved in the situation because his parents do not have enough money to pay for his brother to go to the hospital. They tried to avoid taking him, until the child was almost at the point of death. Once they took him, they would not tell Francisco all the details of how Panchito was doing. I can relate to how frustrating something like that can be. When you're already worried about something, and then you add the fact that you can't get information on it, makes it even worse.
"The butcher must have known the bones were for us and not a dog because he left more and more of the pieces of meat on the bones each time Mama went back."
I thought this was a very important quote because in history and text I believe groups often get antagonized when they're more wealthy than the protagonist. As readers, it is easy to empathize with this family and to think that everyone of a different race is going to be like the ones that sometimes pick on the Children at school. It is important to show figures like the butcher in text and when understanding any historical movement. It's good that the author, instead of antagonizing the majority, simply makes opinions on an individual basis. The butcher shows that people who are in a better situation were still empathetic and able to help others even if times were hard.
This book so far has thrown a lot of situations at me that I have never experienced, and with them many quotes. There is a lot of shock in my case when he is in the class for the first time and even though he doesn't understand English, he is there and he is t really helped to understand The language. He has to got every day, and each day he doesn't understand. I feel like that would be the same as a person walking into a room full of monkeys. You can only guess what they are thinking of by their gestures and expressions.
I was also really moved by the fiasco with the butterfly! It was his own curiosity that revolved around the caterpillar and made him spend time observing and drawing and thinking about it. He actively thought about it and ended up having neat experiences because of his sheer wonderment of this insect. He even ended up winning an award! But what if he had not sparked interest in the thing? What if he knew more English so he payed less attention and interest on the butterfly and spent more time focused on class? Would the drawing still have won? Would the big kid still have fancied the art? What about the teacher- would she have let Franny release the butterfly, and let him get that magic moment? .
"'¿Cómo se dice 'es tuyo' en Inglés?' I asked.
'Its yours' answered Arthur.
'Its yours' I repeated, handing the drawing to Curtis."
This part stood out to me, and was the first quote to pop into my mind. I love this so much, because it shows forgiveness. I have always been taught that forgiving is such a powerful act. It has always surprised me how kids are so willing to let go of a grudge, so much more than most adults. Curtis lied to a teacher so that he would get Franciscos jacket, even though Francisco had very little to call his own in the first place. that is not something that, if they were older, would have been forgiven so quickly. And yet Francisco was willing to forgive Curtis for what he did, almost immediately.
I really enjoyed reading The Curciut in class, it made me think about all different situations people are put in. When Fransico was waiting for his parents at the cotton field he was left in the car alone with his little brother, and he forgot about his brother when he wanted to try to go pick cotton he got cuts and scrapes all on his hand and was bleeding, this made me think about how much he cares about working as a 6 year old and had such big responsibilities. I am very interested on what responsibilities and challenges Fransico wants to conquer
After reading the first assigned section of the Circuit, I have mixed emotions on how I feel about the book. I think that this book really shows a different perspective on how other people deal with situations that are not like you. I relate this back to when Francisco was in school and didn't understand anything. I think that I take it for granted that I live in a nice place and go to a nice school. I feel that this book is a little confusing because I can't get a grip around the story line yet. As the book goes on, I will more than likely be more situated with the given story. I wonder how this book is going to end, but I can already predict an ending.
I feel a sadness for Francisco and hearing his hopes slowly disappear. When he first came to the US he believed that it was the place where anything can happen but soon learns that he does not belong. He still is a child and doesn't know of all the bad that happens to Mexicans but he still sees the bad when he is at school and with his family's struggles. He wants to help his family by learning to fish and try to help earn money. However, all that he cares and wants to help his growing siblings whom he must care for. It cannot change the disadvantage his family and he have by being of Mexican heritage in a prominently white culture.
Something that surprised me so far in the Circuit is when Francisco was left in the car with his younger brother. This part surprised me because I felt the passion Francisco has to help his family when he went out on his own to try and pick cotton. Even though putting dirt clots in the cotton to make it heavier is sort of "cheating" he truly has the right set of mind to help out his family with money. So far I have picked up that Francisco truly wants to help out his family during these rough times.
Significance: It really struck me that Francisco, unfamiliar with the other English-speaking students gave his prized possession--a drawing that won #1 in a contest--to the very kid that gave him a swollen upper lip and scratches on his left cheek (Curtis). The fact that he would show this much compassion to someone who only showed hate and malice towards him is telling of a strong individual. I can only hope that Francisco finds some kind of friendship in Curtis, perhaps he might even be able to learn some English from him, and Curtis some Spanish. Regardless, it'll be interesting to see how the story develops with this new character.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.