In Raymond Barrio’s “The Plum Plum Pickers”, Barrio conveys the idea that a man must obtain a sense of pride in order to fully be seen as a true man. Through his strong description of the main character, sentence structure and word choice Barrio exemplifies that in life a man must have pride before being recognized as a true human being.
Raymond Barrio begins with repetitive sentences; this conveys the dull aspects of the main characters life. Barrio without naming the main character gives the audience a quite vivid description of the character and the setting. The setting is organized in a “maze of apricot trees, as though forever, neat rows of them, neatly planted, row after row”, this gives the setting a mundane look. With this mundane look comes along the character’s description of being “locked” along with the maze-like setting the character has a feeling of captivity. Barrio’s effectiveness shows through his short one-word sentences. These sentences all include descriptive words that define this nameless character. He uses powerful words including “brute, beast, and savage” to convey t that this character is a senseless being. In some cases Barrio describes this character as though he is some kind of animal. This makes the reader sense the unimportance of this character.
The next paragraph is just one word; “lunch”, the continuation of one-word sentences gives the reader a sense of organization. This organization is in the life of labor workers, more like a day-to-day schedule that gives life no essential meaning but to go through the same motions everyday. Barrio’s nameless character is now given a title in the third paragraph. His name is “Manuel” in Spanish but if pronounce in English it sounds like the word manual, which means physical work. Barrio chooses this name for his character purposely; doing this reveals to the audience that Manuel is a manual laborer, which in society is not seen as high class. Manuel being a laborer answers the long standing question as to why he was described in previous passages as being an “animal”; an animal to labor and his master.
Throughout the next few paragraphs Barrio continues with the short sentence structure that he began with, keeping a steady pace to Manuel’s dull life. Manuel’s master is introduced as “Robert Morales”. Once again Barrio chooses to give another character a symbolic name. If Morales is pronounced in an English dialect it sounds like “moral less”, which is what he is conveying. Robert Morales is characterized as being rude to his workers without having remorse. He is described to have a “crude, ignorant manner” being the headmaster; Barrio wants Morales to have this attitude of being superior to his workers. His rude nature has an effect on this piece of literature gives Manuel a lower position and Morales takes advantage of this fact, as he demands to take the money that his workers rightfully earned.
As Morales stands in front of his workers “smiling and palms up” he asks to take money back from his workers. This angers Manuel and with “widened eyes”, he responds in an apprehensive manner reminding Morales that he “promised” that he would never take anything that they already earned. This is a big step for Manuel only because Morales is in higher standing than him. Seeing Manuel’s determination to stop Morales from taking the money the other workers stand strong behind him. This is the moment where Manual is seen as having depth; this intense climatic moment reveals Manuel’s true personality. He is no longer seen as an “animal” but as a person with an identity. The feeling of “power courses through his nerves” as Manuel stands up for himself and the other workers, which is a feeling that he has never had before.
Manuel’s character begins as being just another worker. He does not have an edge, but instead continues on with his life as a labor man. Having low self-esteem and no sense of pride is what Manuel is seen as. When he realizes his true potential he stands up for himself in a rough setting. Barrio mentions that “men are built to experience a certain sense of pride and honor”, Manuel reaches his state of pride after he speaks his mind to Robert Morales. This is what Raymond Barrio is conveying through his short story “The Plum Plum Pickers”; a man is not a true man without obtaining the ability to understand his own dignity and pride.