Thursday, May 22, 2008
Plum Plum Picker
In the short story, The Plum Plum Picker, Raymond Barrio suggests that human beings have dignity and will power that make them different from the nonliving machines. Barrio shows it through the portrayals of the characters and the conflict between them. He uses the third person view through the eyes of the protagonist as the main point of view to reveal his idea. Barrio sets up a situation where the protagonist and his fellow workers are like machines that work so hard to earn money and have it taken away from them.
Barrio set this story based on a working day of the protagonist, Manuel, who is a prune and apricot picker. In the first paragraph, it shows the beginning of the day where Manuel is working in “an endless maze of apricot trees”. (40) Manuel is describing his day and thoughts Barrio added in between the descriptive sentences one word phrases, which show the hectic action in the beginning of the day and the fast speed that the workers are working at in their mechanical state automatically doing things without unnecessary commands. Barrio used the word, “locked” (40), to show how Manuel and the workers are unable to leave the place. As Manuel continue his train of thoughts, “animal”, “brute”, “beast”, and “savage” (40) phrases appeared. Manuel describes his very own “exhausted body” (40) as an animal with “brute cells” (40) and “animal pores” (40). Barrio use that to portray both the protagonist and the worker appear as animals than humans. It shows how they have no honor working as pickers and treated as harshly as animals. Barrio used single word to divide two paragraphs along the beginning of the story. It sets the time in which the event occurs. The second paragraph sets during the lunch time where things are calmer than the beginning for a short period. The paragraph begins with longer sentence than the one word phrase to show that the speed of work has slow down. Manuel’s “short rest” (40) shows how short the time is for lunch. Afterwards, it became hectic again. “The trees” (40) and “the branches” (40) were used to show that there is no movement forward in the work because no action occurred.
In Manuel’s picking of apricots, he was like an n machine. Manuel picked the “mountain of cots automatically” (40). He act similar to an “automator” (40) that continuously doing the same thing over ad over without thoughts about it. It shows how the workers are so uniform and lifeless. Barrio introduces another character by the name of Robert Morales. The name, Morales, represent the person as a person without morals. It is similar to Manuel’s name, which represent a simple man or manual. It tells the characteristic of the people just by their names. Morales is truly a person with out morals and is the “worst kind” (40). He is described as “a gentlemanly, friendly, polite, grinning, vicious, thieving brute” (40). Barrio shows the layers toward Morales’s true personality by using contradictions to describe Morales. Mid afternoon shows the near end of work for the people. In the end, it shows Morales trying to steal money off of the pickers to satisfy himself. Unlike a machine at this point, Manuel spoke up and spurred the others to rebel. Instead of being an obedient machinery or beast that does what the master want, Manuel and the others did not forfeit their money over. He and the others “moved toward their buckets” (41) and kick it in attempt to stop Morales’s rule over them. Barrio made Manuel show “his defiance” (41) to create Manuel’s dignity, will power and realization of the purpose of men. It shows that the workers who are constantly working like machines “are dead before they die” (41). Barrio uses the two characters to create a situation where the people have to strike back and show the actual life that they hidden while automatically doing their work.
Barrio show his idea that human beings have dignity and will power that makes them truly alive. Humans are not machines that would follow every order given without questions. It show that they have a will and they will not stand to be treated like machine just because of superiority ranking. They have their dignity to protect the things they rightfully earn.