Always Running

by

Luis J. Rodriguez

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Alfonso Rodriguez Character Analysis

Although Alfonso is Luis’s father, he’s a surprisingly minimal presence in Luis’s early life, and in Luis’s memoir. A talented, educated figure in Mexico, Alfonso makes the difficult decision to immigrate to Los Angeles, and relocates his entire family along with him. In Los Angeles, he’s on the verge of breaking up with his wife and Luis’s mother, María Rodriguez. However, the two choose to stay together, and Alfonso supports his entire family with a job as a lab technician. Alfonso is described as being a man of few words. He doesn’t discipline Luis for his bad behavior, and in general he does not have many lines of dialogue in the book. One notable exception comes when Alfonso begins taking Luis to the university lab where he works as a technician. There, Luis learns the truth: whereas he always thought his father held a highly-respected position at the lab, the reality is that Alfonso is little more than a janitor. Professors and scientists look down on him, and this infuriates Luis—who knows that his father is smart enough for a much more respectable job. In all, Alfonso’s adult life confirms some of the harsh realities about immigration: in America, he’s never given a fair chance to put his talents to full use.

Alfonso Rodriguez Quotes in Always Running

The Always Running quotes below are all either spoken by Alfonso Rodriguez or refer to Alfonso Rodriguez . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gangs and Crime Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Always Running published in 2005.
Chapter 6 Quotes

There's nothing wrong with being a janitor—and one as prestigious as my dad! But for years, I had this running fantasy of my scientist father in a laboratory carrying out vital experiments—the imagination of a paltry kid who wanted so much to break away from the constraints of a society which expected my father to be a janitor or a laborer—when I wanted a father who transformed the world. I had watched too much TV.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker), Alfonso Rodriguez
Page Number: 135-136
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

I could see my mom and dad with a couple of Bienvenidos staff members in the front desk area. I looked over where Night Owl was still holed up.
"Hey dude, here's for Sangra," and I stuck out my hand.
Night Owl looked at me for a second, then smirked, and shook my hand through the bars.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker), Alfonso Rodriguez , María Rodriguez, Night Owl
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Always Running LitChart as a printable PDF.
Always Running PDF

Alfonso Rodriguez Character Timeline in Always Running

The timeline below shows where the character Alfonso Rodriguez appears in Always Running. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...parents were arguing: his mother, María, wanted to move back to Mexico, but his father, Alfonso, was reluctant. (full context)
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...and his siblings are born in Texas so that they’ll be American citizens. His father, Alfonso, is an educated man who later marries María, his secretary. Alfonso is a high school... (full context)
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
María is thirteen years younger than Alfonso. She’s never been in a relationship with another man, but Alfonso already has multiple children... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
...black area of Los Angeles. Watts is impoverished, and many cheap laborers live there. Seni, Alfonso’s daughter from a previous marriage, suggests that Alfonso move to Watts, since she lives there,... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
Luis’s earliest memories of Los Angeles are unpleasant. Life is hard, and Alfonso is almost always out of work. Luis sees billboards depicting happy white families and famous... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
Luis and his family change houses many times because they’re evicted. Alfonso has trained as a teacher in Mexico, but he’s unable to find work in America.... (full context)
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...be healthier and better looking than she. Still, she knows that she’ll have to follow Alfonso wherever he goes. (full context)
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
Alfonso is dismissed from his job after students complain that they can’t understand his accent, and... (full context)
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...a nail file. Soon afterwards, the landlord evicts Luis’s family. At this point, María and Alfonso decide to separate. (full context)
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...while he and his brother were fighting in the car, his parents had separated, and Alfonso was driving María and the children to the station so that they could return to... (full context)
Chapter 2
Gangs and Crime Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
Alfonso gets a job as a lab technician, and Luis begins junior high school. His school... (full context)
Gangs and Crime Theme Icon
Alfonso learns that Luis is getting into trouble at school. He doesn’t discipline his son, leaving... (full context)
Chapter 6
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...Luis lasts one day at Continuation and then gets expelled for fighting. At this point, Alfonso proposes that Luis come with him to his job at the local Junior College. Alfonso... (full context)
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
Luis accompanies Alfonso to work every morning. Alfonso works as a lab technician, but Luis thinks of his... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
After school, Luis spends time in the library, waiting for Alfonso to finish work. There, he reads some good books, including the poetry of Amiri Baraka... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...with Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He also learns not to be angry with Alfonso. Even if he’s disillusioned with his father in some ways, he respects his father for... (full context)
Chapter 10
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...for sticking to what he believes, even though she never really liked his “revolutionary talk.” Alfonso doesn’t say much, but he shakes Luis’s hand and tells him that he can call... (full context)