Always Running

by

Luis J. Rodriguez

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Chente Ramírez Character Analysis

Chente is one of the key figures in the memoir, and undoubtedly one of the biggest influences in Luis Rodriguez’s life. A charismatic Chicano politician, writer, teacher, and community organizer, Chente works at the Bienvenidos Community Center, a place designed to provide support for gang members and impoverished Los Angeles residents alike. Luis is immediately impressed with Chente’s intelligence, passion, and effortless “cool.” As he explains, Chente is an important mentor for him because Chente can inspire him without condescendingly telling him what to do. And this is the key to Chente’s influence: he shows Luis the kind of life that Luis could have, and then leaves it up to Luis to choose this kind of life for himself. With Chente’s encouragement and advice, Luis becomes more involved in grassroots politics. Chente is also instrumental in introducing Luis to Marxist ways of thinking about the world and understanding his life—and in particular, the quintessentially Marxist idea that exploited people of all kinds have something in common that transcends culture or race. Many coming-of-age stories have a mentor figure at its heart, and in Always Running, Chente is undoubtedly that figure for Luis.

Chente Ramírez Quotes in Always Running

The Always Running quotes below are all either spoken by Chente Ramírez or refer to Chente Ramírez. 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 5 Quotes

I was in my mid-teens and Chente was about twelve years older. I looked up to him, but not as a big brother. He was someone who could influence me without judging me morally or telling me what to do. He was just there. He listened, and when he knew you were wrong, before he would say anything, he would get you to think.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker), Chente Ramírez
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Always Running LitChart as a printable PDF.
Always Running PDF

Chente Ramírez Character Timeline in Always Running

The timeline below shows where the character Chente Ramírez appears in Always Running. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Gangs and Crime Theme Icon
Machismo Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...he wants to learn. Around this time the Bienvenidos Community Center hires a man named Chente Ramírez. Chente used to be a gang member, but he later became a grassroots political... (full context)
Gangs and Crime Theme Icon
Machismo Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
...lessons at the La Casa Community Center. There, he meets Sal Basuto, the center’s organizer (Chente’s counterpart). Sal is frustrated by his interactions with the Sangra. They’re a small gang, meaning... (full context)
Chapter 6
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
Luis attends a youth center to see Chente speak. Afterwards, Chente summons Luis to his office for a talk. There, he offers Luis... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
That summer, Luis works for the Neighborhood Youth Corps, thanks to Chente. He becomes deeply involved in the Youth Corps, often waking up at the crack of... (full context)
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
Luis attends a group called The Collective, organized by Chente. The group studies politics, philosophy, and economics, which Chente sees as the three pillars of... (full context)
Chapter 7
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...largest anti-war protest ever held in a minority community. Luis participates in the protest, with Chente’s encouragement. (full context)
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...students quickly enough. He suggests that the school sponsor a Chicano class, with a Chicano teacher—Chente. He tries to convince the ToHMAS teacher sponsor, Mrs. Baez, to support his idea, but... (full context)
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
At The Collective, Luis learns about the importance of social science. Chente emphasizes that it’s not enough to rely on personal experience: one must dig deeper and... (full context)
Chapter 8
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
Luis’s parents don’t visit him in jail. But he gets another visitor: Chente. Chente tells him, “You messed up,” and Luis admits that Chente is right. Luis learns... (full context)
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Chente hosts a community center meeting to discuss problems of gang violence. The problem has gotten... (full context)
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
One day, Chente inspects the drawings Luis has made over the years and says that Luis has been... (full context)
Gangs and Crime Theme Icon
Machismo Theme Icon
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
...has it that Sangra gang members shot Santos and Indio, but nothing can be proved. Chente tries to keep the peace, but there are too many gang members on both sides... (full context)
Chapter 10
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
...paper factory but continues to organize grassroots political events. Meanwhile, gang warfare continues. Luis visits Chente, who argues that “the rulers of this country” want gangs to fight each other. The... (full context)
Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
Soon after this incident, Luis visits Chente and tells him that he’s ready to leave his neighborhood for good. With Chente’s help,... (full context)
Gangs and Crime Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Class Theme Icon
Politics, Resistance, and Activism Theme Icon
Luis travels to political conferences with Chente. He later moves to Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, and later Watts, among many other... (full context)