Living up the Street
In a prose that is so beautiful it is poetry, we see the world of growing up and going somewhere through the dust and heat of Fresno's industrial side and beyond: It is a boy's coming of age in the barrio, parochial school, attending church, public summer school, and trying to fall out of love so he can join in a Little League baseball team. His is a clarity that rings constantly through the warmth and wry reality of these sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic, always human remembrances.
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Gary Soto is a Mexican-American poet and author. This is a collection of narratives about his childhood in Fresno, California.
What point of view does the narrator use in this story?
In literature, point of view is the mode of narration that an author employs to let the readers “hear” and “see” what takes place in a story. The video explains point of view. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the narrator describe his family?
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
How does the television program on fire prevention affect the narrator and his siblings?
How does Gary's mother react when she sees what the children have done to the house?
Gary's mother and father are happy as they water their garden. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Gary play marbles so viciously?
1, 2, 3
Gary plays the game Candyland with the little kids in the park. (This annotation contains an image)
Gary thinks that the shows he sees on television and the man on the bench represent the ideal life style. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the man react when his daughter falls from the swing?
What prejudices do the man's actions convey?
Why does Rick threaten to get Gary?
Rick is angry because of the attention Gary receives. How does he get even with Gary?
Gary decorates a Frostie root beer bottle in an attempt to win the crafts contest. (This annotation contains an image)
What figure of speech does the narrator use to describe his feelings?
How does the appearance of the lady judge contrast with that of the children?
Looking for Work
Why does Gary want his family to wear shoes to dinner?
Who are the "stupids"?
Feigned in the sentence means
Gary compares his family's dinner manners to those of the Cleavers in Leave It to Beaver. (This annotation contains a video)
How does Gary differentiate David's status from that of his family?
How is fifth grade an odd year for Gary?
How does Gary deceive his mother?
Characterization is a literary device that is used step by step in literature to highlight and explain the details about a character in a story. The video explains how characters develop. (This annotation contains a video)
Irony is a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. It may also be a situation that may end up in quite a different way than what is generally anticipated. The video explains three types of irony. (This annotation contains a video)
What is ironic about Sister Marie's concern for the children of Biafra?
The Beauty Contest
Why does Gary think his younger brother might have a chance of winning the beauty contest?
How do the mothers respond when the winners are announced?
Baseball in April
How does Rick perform during baseball tryouts?
Why does Rick hold back a smile during baseball tryouts?
What role does Manuel assume in the boys' lives?
Hara-kiri is a ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword, formerly practiced in Japan by samurai as an honorable alternative to disgrace or execution.
Why does Gary allow the ball to hit him?
Many of the words in the novel are Spanish in origin. You can often use context clues to figure out their meaning. Could you tell that "cabron" is a derogatory term?
How does Frankie react when Gary describes the Sotos' Thanksgiving dinner?
Why do the children feel ashamed when Mr. Koligian manhandles Frankie?
What is significant about the history class?
Gary enjoys square dancing. Watch the video. Do you think you would enjoy square dancing? (This annotation contains a video)
How does Gary respond when Little John plays music on the typewriter?
What does Gary do to let Mary Palacio know he likes her?
Why does Gary corner Ernie?
What conflict does Gary face when he sees Judy?
Saturday with Jackie
What is Jackie doing when Gary meets him?
What does Gary mean by this sentence?
What do Gary and Jackie do with the mannequins they steal from the store?
The Small Faces
What surprises Gary about the coach?
What upsets Gary about the boy's question?
How does Gary behave with the children?
Gary cares about the children and tries to find activities to engage them.
Why does Gary have the students write their names in macaroni?
The children have fun on the "Slip & Slide". (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Miss Sue shake Gary and ask the class to vote on his punishment?
Gary fights throughout his life to survive.
Who is Bloodworth?
Gary goes into the match feeling he is doomed to lose. Bloodworth rolls him into the "cradle." Watch this wrestling move on the video. (This annotation contains a video)
One Last Time
Why does Gary identify with the people of India?
The movie "Gandhi" presents the story of the life of political activist Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. How does this movie and its title character fit into this novel? (This annotation contains a video)
Gary picks grapes to make money for school clothes. It is hard work and pays very little.
Why do Gary's plans for the money he will earn change as the day progresses?
Gary does not want to be labeled a poor "Mexican."
Why do Rick and Gary laugh about their situation?
How does the narrator describe the people in Chinatown?
Gary's job at Valley Tire Factory uses
What do Gary's thoughts suggest about his relationship with his mother and stepfather?
Why does Gary run when the border patrol arrives?
Gary lives with a middle class family but discovers that they, too, have problems.
What fate does Gary hope to escape?
What is the prevailing attitude of the workplace?
Gary thinks his actions during this period show his evilness.
What does Gary agree to do with Scott?
Scott and Gary do not know what to do with the items they steal. They are filled with fear about what they have done.
How does Gary feel about his part in the robbery?
What do Gary and Ross decide to do with the items they stole?
How does Gary's attitude change after they return the stolen items?
The Savings Book
Why do the families on welfare buy encyclopedias from Gary even though they cannot afford them?
What does Gary's savings book represent?
The theme is the central idea of a text. Watch the video to gain a better understanding of theme. What themes do you notice in this text? (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Gary suggest that he and Carolyn buy fifty dollars worth of peanut butter and pinto beans?
What do we learn about Gary's career?
Why do Gary and his wife move into the cottage?
Gary and his wife want jobs that will give them freedom and independence as well as income.
How does the following quote from Hadrian's Memoirs relate to Gary's life?“Our great mistake is to try to exact from each person virtues which he does not possess, and to neglect the cultivation of those which he has.”
How does Gary describe the people who are seeking employment?
Gary becomes an award winning poet. Listen to what he has to say in this video. (This annotation contains a video)
According to the video, how does Gary change the direction of his life?
How does the well-known poet act toward guests at Gary's book-signing?
Gary knows that the girl at the door is in trouble. Why doesn't he say anything to her about her situation?
Lopez Portillo was the former president of Mexico. (This annotation contains an image)
What does the policeman point out about Gary and his daughter?
To whom is Gary addressing this question?
What impact do the little girl and her mother have on Gary?
Why do the policemen mistreat Gary?
A Good Day
The main plaza of Mexico City is commonly known as the Zócalo. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the harp player say he comes to play the harp?
Why is "A Good Day" an appropriate title for this chapter?