The narrator introduces us to his first memories as a young adult visiting prison. He describes the prison live vividly as a habitat of criminals and other significant events that occurred leading to the imprisonment of the father as well as his transformation. Jimmy Santiago Baca also narrates his painful memories and the parental love before and after he was a poet. Moreover, he goes to prison at the first time as young as five years. He also describes the alcoholic behaviours of his father as he grew up.
Additionally, Baca explains that his father one-day drank and drove recklessly and was arrested and imprisoned. The narrator gives an explicit definition of prison life and the people inside it. He describes prison as a smelly place full of urine smell, criminal and brutal gangs as well as where innocents will no longer survive. For example, the cell captain shouts, “oyez, Damacio despierta!” (Baca, n.d., pg. 2). After some time, his father is seen walking carefully over dead bodies to greet the narrator’s mom and finally shouts to be let out. Baca looks at his father with pity eyes not knowing what to do. He imagines of the situation in the cell and wants to tell his mom to see empathy on father but in vain. At this situation, the father wants to lay his hand on mom, an act indicating his cruel behaviour. “Stay away from us!” (Baca, n.d., pg. 2). In his narration, Mom never came back to see father. Mom leaves her husband in jail because she remembers that he is brutal, drank and a womanizer.Jimmy also fears that his sister Martina and Brother Meiyo are not in the hands of Mom.
Mom shouting to the narrator’s father at cell shows disrespect. She also drags Baca away from his father foreshadowing her negligence of duty to bring them up. After several days and father in the cell, mother starts to practice promiscuity. She commences having an affair with a man whom the narrator call a strange man. Baca explains how one day a man came into their house and behind him was his mother. The man sat on the bed, and soon mom followed. “I love you”, (Baca, n.d., pg.8). Jimmy helpless watched how he raised his mom’s skirt up ran hands on thighs, and soon they start having love with their clothes on. Jimmy keeps this a secret and promises not to tell father when he shall be back. It is not a right act especially in front of children.
Several weeks later, father comes back in his car. Mom then runs after him shouting, “Where have you been?” (Baca, n.d., pg. 9). It is not a good show, because; Mom could have welcomed father and asking this in their room or a polite manner. Therefore, she is vulgar, obscene and disrespects her husband. “I never wanted to marry you!” (Baca, n.d., pg. 9). Mom retaliates by saying, “you raped me?”(Baca, n.d., pg. 9). She then walks away talking to herself probably in obscene. This a clear indication that something had happened earlier, and father helped to save the situation. The logic here is that Damacio had one time raped mom while she was young and hence being force to marry her. Hence, mom should have shown greater respect. Mom also denied her children from speaking Spanish because she never wanted them inherit father’s origin.
At this point, the narrator uses a flashback to reveal the lives of his parents. “Mother was married at the age of 15 and after one year I was born.” (Baca, n.d., pg. 12). In Mexico, his mother’s parents lived in extreme poverty and therefore got married to the father at early age of fifteen years and after some time giving birth Jimmy Santiago Baca in 1952. Since his father was driving although a drunkard man, he was somehow able and married Mom. At some point the narrator explains how his father was always drunk, came home late and sometimes missed. When he come, Martina and Mieyo could hide under the bed or closet, implying that father was brutal to them.
Mother always had quarrel with father and sometimes fight running away shelter skeletally when overpowered. Children should not see their parents fighting as they will be stressed and grow fearful. Women and grandma always talked in a low tone when seeing mother, and therefore the narrator carefully predicts that it is because of her characters or immorality. Even though his father was out of jail, he never stopped drinking. The narrator says that Mom claimed that the father was a womanizer, vulgar and abusive when drunk.
With this respect, mom gets an excuse of becoming more promiscuous. She openly invites in a man named Richard whom she had made met before. Who concessionary drives her out. The narrator says that other times he bought her, a dress, a blouse, flowers and other presents. Previously we see mom a loving to the children but towards the end, we see her starting to abandon them. She chose Richard rather than her own children because of desiring to have a better life and enjoy peaceful times together since her children seemed to bring wrangles over time. Her life has changed, she behaves like a white woman probably to please Richard even though he has little concern over her. She expects to have a free life and away from her previous husband but this was in vain because Richard also silently mistreats her.
Mother then gets a good job where she is a cashier, dresses like a modern lady and often spends nights out with Richard. Lastly, she abandons Jimmy’s father and gets married to her new lover. The narrator tells us how his mother enjoyed her new life with Richard and sometimes forgot her only children Richard marries Mom, and always mistreated the children. One day the narrator, sister, and his brother runs away but Mom only closes the door not following where they went. “Hello, I’m Nestor,” (Baca, n.d., pg. 20). A new beginning of life was marked as Mom abandoned them (Meiyo, Martina, and Jimmy) to enjoy life with a newly found lover. Life had greatly changed to the narrator and his family.
In my opinion, domestic violence is not good and therefore the family always lived in tension and poverty stricken. It is not right therefore for the mother to react in this way because a person cannot leave his or her family just because of drunkard husband or lack of money. Instead, problems should be solved and not abandoned. In addition, one may run a problem to face a bigger one.
. Baca, J. S. (n.d.). Prologue.