Always Running

by

Luis J. Rodriguez

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Luis Rodriguez Character Analysis

Luis Rodriguez is the protagonist, author, and narrator of Always Running. Beginning in the early 1990s, when he’s a husband, a father, and a successful writer and community organizer, Luis pens a book in which he reexamines his early life in Los Angeles. As a teenager, Luis becomes involves in the city’s notorious gangs. Throughout the 1970s, he is affiliated with a handful of Los Angeles gangs, first The Tribe and later the Lomas. In his capacity as a gang member, he uses drugs, viciously beats rival gang members, gets into fights with other gangs, and at times participates in some unfathomably horrific behavior (at one point, for example, he assaults an innocent person with a screwdriver). Plainly, Luis does not fit the typical description of a “good guy,” and he never claims to, or even asks his readers for forgiveness. At the same time, Luis is shown to be a sensitive, highly intelligent young man with a strong moral desire to help people. He organizes political rallies and protests for worthy causes like Chicano rights, racial equality, and ending the Vietnam War. He also develops his talents as a poet, an artist, and a musician. In the end, Luis summons the courage and the discipline to do what few of his peers ever succeed in doing—escaping the life of a Los Angeles gang member. So perhaps it’s possible to understand Luis’s delinquent behavior without forgiving him entirely. He makes some horrible choices, but they’re choices that many Americans, because of their privilege, are never in the position of having to make.

Luis Rodriguez Quotes in Always Running

The Always Running quotes below are all either spoken by Luis Rodriguez or refer to Luis 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.
Preface Quotes

Following me, Ramiro was a second-generation gang member. My involvement was in the late 1960s and early 1970s in Los Angeles, the so-called gang capital of the country. My teen years were ones of drugs, shootings and beatings, and arrests. I was around when South Central Los Angeles gave birth to the Crips and Bloods. By the time I turned 18 years old, 25 of my friends had been killed by rival gangs, police, drugs, car crashes and suicides.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker), Ramiro
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

With little productive to do, drug selling becomes a lucrative means of survival. A 10-year-old in Humboldt Park can make $80-$100 a day as a lookout for local dealers. The drug trade is business. It's capitalism: Cutthroat, profit- motivated and expedient.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 1 Quotes

I just stayed in the back of the class, building blocks. It got so every morning I would put my lunch and coat away, and walk to my corner where I stayed the whole day long. It forced me to be more withdrawn. It got so bad, I didn't even tell anybody when I had to go the bathroom. I did it in my pants.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

Tino looked below. A deputy spied the boy and called out, "Get down here...you greaser!”
Tino straightened up and disappeared. I heard a flood of footsteps on the roof -then a crash. Soon an awful calm covered us.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker), Tino
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

In the barrio, the police are just another gang. […] Sometimes they come up to us while we linger on a street comer and tell us Sangra called us chavalas, a loose term for girls. Other times, they approach dudes from Sangra and say Lomas is a tougher gang and Sangra is nothing. Shootings, assaults and skirmishes between the barrios are direct results of police activity. Even drug dealing. I know this. Everybody knows this.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

Already a thug. It was harder to defy this expectation than just accept it and fall into the trappings. It was a jacket I could try to take off, but they kept putting it back on. The first hint of trouble and the preconceptions proved true. So why not be proud? Why not be an outlaw? Why not make it our own?

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

I felt torn. There I was, a vato from Lomas staring into the eyes of a Sangra girl. This made me a traitor. But at the same time, all I could think about was her touch, her scent — those eyes.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker), Viviana
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

Maybe the whites didn't care for them either, but at least they had their money' status and grades. But one Asian guy got into our face. It wasn't so much he thought he was white. It was more in defense of what was "right." It was wrong to jump on innocent people. It was wrong to focus on the color of skin. It was wrong to throw rocks at cars, police and homes.
"You can't do this," the Asian guy clamored. "We didn't do anything to you!
Five guys jumped on him.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

Suddenly everything around me exploded. An immense blackness enveloped me. A deep stillness. Nothing. Absolute. No thinking. No feeling. A hole.
Then an electrified hum sank its teeth into my brain. Hands surrounded me, pulled at me, back to the dust of our makeshift hideaway.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
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:

A naked girl, passed out, lay in the back seat. A black patch of pubic hair stood out on a shock of white skin which looked as if she had been immersed in flour'
"Chale, homes," I responded. "I ain't with it." Chicharrón nodded the same sentiment.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker), Chicharrón
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:
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:

The librarian looked at me through the side of her eye, as if she kept tabs on whoever perused those books.
They were primarily about the black experience, works coming out of the flames which engulfed many American cities in the 1960s.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

I had a cell next to Charles Manson. They threw me in with a dude who had killed a teacher and another who had shot somebody in the Aliso Village housing projects. One of the dudes pressed a stashed blade to my neck. But I knew, no matter what, never show fear. I stood up to him, staring without blinking. Then he backed off. Soon we played cards, told jokes and stories. That night, we heard the "East L.A. riot! - this is what the media was calling it! - had escalated throughout much of Whittier Boulevard.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:

In prisons, where a disproportionate number of Chicano males ended up, pinto organizations and publications flowered into existence.
East L.A. also birthed artists, musicians and writers out of the wombs of conflict. […] Over the years, bands like El Chicano, Tierra, Los Lobos, Con Safo, Los Illegals and Califas carried forth the people's message through Latinized jazz-rock compositions, and later in punk and traditional corrido forms. Publications arose such as La Raza which chronicled through photos and prose the ongoing developments in the movement.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

We have somebody willing to teach you," Mrs. Baez said. "He's an instructor for a folklórico dance troupe at one of the colleges. You look Indian enough with your long hair. And I think it would help involve some of the hard-core Lomas students in what we're doing if you tried out."
What do you say, Louie?" Esme asked.
They knew they had me. I accepted as a formality.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker), Esmeralda Falcón (speaker), Mrs. Baez (speaker)
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:

The collective explained how workers of all colors and nationalities, linked by hunger and the same system of exploitation, have no country; their interests as a class respect no borders. To me, this was an unconquerable idea.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 185
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:

Babies are easy too. Many homegirls become mothers, although they are unfinished children. Whatever comfort and warmth they lack at home is also withheld from their babies. Girls drop out of school. Homeboys become fathers even in their early teens. But there's nothing at stake for them; at the most, having a baby is a source of power, for rep, like trophies on a mantle.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 198-199
Explanation and Analysis:

"You all know I'll take on anybody," I countered as I stood up. "They were my homeboys too. But think about it: They were killed by a speeding car, both of them shot right through the heart. Nobody yelled out nothing. Who's trained to do this? Not Sangra. I say the cops did this. I say they want us to go after Sangra when we were so close to coming together."
"We have to use our brains," I continued, talking to every, one. "We have to think about who's our real enemy. The dudes in Sangra are just like us, man."
Treacherous talk.
Then Puppet stood up.
"Only pinche putos would tell us to back off on Sangra, talking bullshit about uniting barrios."

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker), Puppet (speaker)
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

"Leave her alone - can't you see you're hurting her?" At this, a couple of deputies pounced on me. I fell to the ground. Officers pulled on my arms, picked me up and threw me against a squad car. I felt the blows of a blackjack against my side and back. I tried to pull them off me, when suddenly eight other deputies showed up. As they pounded on me, my foot inadvertently came up and brushed one of them in the chest.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 226-227
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

Nobody wanted the Super Kool after me! As soon as somebody took a stand and turned it down, the others did the same. I arrived at a point which alarmed even me, where I had no desire for the internal night, the buoyancy of letting go, the bliss of the void. I required more, a discipline as bulwark within which to hold all I valued, a shield against the onslaught.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:

Money talked here. Big money. Similarly a good part of the Hills found itself swept away with the massive land deals and influx of investments during the 1970s and 1980s. Between the police, Pacific Rim money and developers, the Hills didn’t have much of a chance.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 241
Explanation and Analysis:

"There’s some things to fight for, some things to die for - but not this. Chava, you're alive. I feel for you' man' but you're alive. Don't waste the rest of your days with this hate. What's revenge? What can you get by getting to me? I'm the least of your enemies. It's time to let it go, it's time to go on with your life."

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker), Chava
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue Quotes

The heart of the L.A. uprising was in the African American community. But it soon involved large numbers of Latinos (who make up almost half of South Central's population) and whites - Latinos were the largest group among the 18,000 arrests; at least 700 of those detained were white. Some called it the country first "multi-ethnic" revolt; the common link was the class composition of the combatants.

Related Characters: Luis Rodriguez (speaker)
Page Number: 247
Explanation and Analysis:
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Luis Rodriguez Character Timeline in Always Running

The timeline below shows where the character Luis Rodriguez appears in Always Running. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Preface
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Coming of Age and Mentorship Theme Icon
In the winter of 1991, Luis Rodriguez, the narrator and author, resides in Chicago. His eldest son, Ramiro, is involved in... (full context)
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That winter, Luis gives his son “an ultimatum.” Furious, Ramiro leaves the house, and Luis chases after him,... (full context)
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Luis remembers when Ramiro was born in the late 1970s, just before Luis turned twenty-one. Two... (full context)
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In 1991, Ramiro runs away for two weeks. Luis is so furious that he replaces the locks on the doors to keep Ramiro out.... (full context)
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Also in 1991, Luis begins seriously considering writing a memoir. He is inspired by the Rodney King beatings, as... (full context)
Chapter 1
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Luis remembers fighting with his older brother Rano. Once, when Luis was nine years old, he... (full context)
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Luis’s family is from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, but his parents make sure that he and... (full context)
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...from a previous marriage, suggests that Alfonso move to Watts, since she lives there, too. Luis has many half-brothers and half-sisters, including Lisa, who died while she was still an infant. (full context)
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Luis’s earliest memories of Los Angeles are unpleasant. Life is hard, and Alfonso is almost always... (full context)
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Growing up in Los Angeles, Luis plays with Rano, his brother. Rano plays the part of Tarzan while Luis plays a... (full context)
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Luis remembers Christmas in Los Angeles when he was a child. One year, he receives toys,... (full context)
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One day, Rano and Luis go to the grocery store to buy food for their mother. While they’re there, two... (full context)
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Luis begins school at the age of six. One of the first things he remembers about... (full context)
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School is challenging for Luis because he doesn’t speak English well. At the time, most schools in Los Angeles offer... (full context)
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Luis and his family change houses many times because they’re evicted. Alfonso has trained as a... (full context)
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...becomes the toughest kid in school, meaning that bullies no longer pick on him or Luis. But María is unsatisfied with her new neighborhood, partly because the other women tend to... (full context)
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...who lives with her husband and two daughters. Because the house is crowded, Rano and Luis spend most of their time outside. (full context)
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One night, Luis and Rano come home to find the house surrounded by police. It turns out that... (full context)
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Luis returns to the scene from the beginning of the chapter: that day, while he and... (full context)
Chapter 2
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One evening while Luis is ten, he is walking through his South San Gabriel neighborhood with his friend Tino.... (full context)
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...suddenly, they hear voices—police officers are standing by the fence, waving batons. Tino yells for Luis to run—if they’re caught, the officers will beat them up. The boys run toward the... (full context)
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Luis steps back to explain what happened in the year between the end of Chapter One... (full context)
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Luis’s neighborhood has many interesting characters, including an old woman who’s rumored to be a witch.... (full context)
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Luis joins a gang at a young age, but he doesn’t think of it as a... (full context)
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...their club “out of necessity.” One day, an up-and-coming club called Thee Mystics comes to Luis’s school, waving guns. The members fire at the school’s windows, and others attack some of... (full context)
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Alfonso gets a job as a lab technician, and Luis begins junior high school. His school is ranked one of the worst in the state—the... (full context)
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Luis develops a crush on a girl named Socorro. Socorro likes Luis, too, but she insists... (full context)
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In junior high, Luis feuds with his teachers. Some of the teachers are very dedicated, but many others seem... (full context)
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Alfonso learns that Luis is getting into trouble at school. He doesn’t discipline his son, leaving this up to... (full context)
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Around this time, Luis and Rano drift farther apart. One day, two bullies who are upset that Rano has... (full context)
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Around the age of thirteen, Luis starts spending all his time with some friends named Clavo, Wilo and Chicharrón—together, “The Animal... (full context)
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It is Miguel Robles who first introduces Luis to The Tribe. At a school dance, Miguel greets Luis and invites him to dance... (full context)
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Luis tells Miguel that he wants to join The Tribe. Miguel talks with Joaquín Lopez, an... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Luis, Wilo, Clavo, and Chicharrón spend more time together after they join The Tribe. They spray-paint... (full context)
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As the years go by, more and more of Luis’s family ends up in Los Angeles. Many of his cousins stay with him, and he... (full context)
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One day, after weightlifting, Luis feels a pain in his abdomen. It turns out that Luis has ruptured his intestine... (full context)
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Luis returns to the incident he described at the beginning of the chapter. Clavo survives his... (full context)
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In the afternoon, a group of white surfers arrives and starts harassing Luis’s friends, saying, “Fuck you, beaners!” Luis’s friends prepare for a fight, smashing bottles. Just then,... (full context)
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The cops take Luis and his friends to the police station, since they’ve committed a felony by drinking on... (full context)
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At the age of nine, Luis’s parents tell him that he needs to start earning money. Rano is working as a... (full context)
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At the age of the thirteen, Luis starts working at a carwash. This job gives Luis a foot fungus, because he often... (full context)
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The chapter skips ahead: Luis is standing in a jail cell. A guard brags to him that the cops detain... (full context)
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...juvenile detention center, and he encourages his friends to steal. At the age of thirteen, Luis steals records, food, and liquor from various stores. At times he gets away with it,... (full context)
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Yuk Yuk also introduces Luis to two big-time robbers, Jandro Mares and Shed Cowager. Both men are in their thirties... (full context)
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Yuk Yuk plans armed robberies, too. One night, Yuk Yuk asks Luis and his friends to join him in a robbery. The gang holds up a concession... (full context)
Chapter 4
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One morning, while Luis is a teenager, he wakes up in the garage to the sound of his sister’s... (full context)
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For months, Luis has been “exiled to the garage.” María has grown exasperated with pulling him out of... (full context)
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Luis attends high school, but he’s “loco” all the time. He notices that white students tend... (full context)
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Luis spends much of his time in the garage, listening to jazz and Motown records. He... (full context)
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One afternoon, when Luis is fourteen, Joe accuses him of stealing his records. Luis tells Joe, “Fuck you,” and... (full context)
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It’s Fiesta Day in San Gabriel—the day when Latino residents celebrate their heritage. That night, Luis and his friends wander past the neighborhood parade. While Luis is hanging out with his... (full context)
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...the carnival area—the only people left are cops and rival gang members. Viviana confesses to Luis that she hates Los Angeles gang culture. Noticing that some of the rival gang members... (full context)
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Viviana and Luis walk toward a school building and climb onto the roof together. Suddenly, Luis notices a... (full context)
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Every year, there’s a football game between Luis’s largely Latino high school and the mostly white neighboring school. At the game, Luis and... (full context)
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During Luis’s sophomore year of high school, cops stop Luis’s friend Carlito after the football game and,... (full context)
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Luis attacks more white bystanders outside the football game. As the night goes on, the fight... (full context)
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At the age of fifteen, Luis buses tables in a restaurant in San Gabriel. Many of the clientele are middle-class whites... (full context)
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Luis and his friends get high every day, often by inhaling gasoline, clear plastic, or paint.... (full context)
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Wilo’s sister, Payasa, has a crush on Luis, and they begin dating. Luis notices that Payasa gets high all the time, and becomes... (full context)
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Luis returns to the scene he described at the beginning of the chapter. He holds a... (full context)
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The next morning, Luis enters the house, breaking his agreement with María. María ignores him. But when he asks... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Chicharrón tells Luis that he should join the Lomas, now the most powerful gang in the county. He... (full context)
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Later that night, the Lomas take Luis and the other new recruits out for the second part of their initiation. They stop... (full context)
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...of that year, the papers are full of headlines about grotesque acts of gang violence. Luis’s neighborhood is becoming more violent by the day. The local community center is now overflowing... (full context)
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The year is 1970, and Luis feels “out of balance.” He’s a curious young man, and he wants to learn. Around... (full context)
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One night, Luis is out playing pool with Puppet and other Lomas. Puppet, Luis has found, rules by... (full context)
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For a couple weeks, Luis takes karate lessons at the La Casa Community Center. There, he meets Sal Basuto, the... (full context)
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One night, Luis hears a knock on the garage and finds Lomas, including his friend Santos, waiting for... (full context)
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Around this time, Gloria, Luis’s younger sister, has joined her own Lomas crew and begun going by the nickname Shorty.... (full context)
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As time goes on, life gets worse in Luis’s neighborhood. Rape becomes common, to the point where it’s “a way of life” for some... (full context)
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One evening, Yuk Yuk, Luis, and some other friends are leaving a quinceñera (i.e., fifteenth birthday party). In their car,... (full context)
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...Payasa move to a new neighborhood, partly to escape the violence. Just before they leave, Luis reunites with Payasa, who’s been in rehab. She seems more energetic than she was when... (full context)
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Luis and his friends’ lives revolve around death. They flirt with death by pursuing fights with... (full context)
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Luis stops inhaling sprays but starts experimenting with meth, PCP, heroin, mescaline, and pills. Luis, Yuk,... (full context)
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One night, Luis and Chicharrón go driving around the neighborhood. They pick up two girls named Roberta and... (full context)
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Luis eventually finds out from Roberta’s sister Frankie that Roberta “turns tricks.” When he learns this,... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Luis describes a dream he’s had. In the dream, he sees his “long-dead sister Lisa …... (full context)
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Luis spends most of his time in the garage. Sometimes, María tries to encourage him to... (full context)
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Prior to his meeting with Mr. Rothro, Luis has attended Continuation High School, a school designed for students who “couldn’t make it anywhere... (full context)
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Luis accompanies Alfonso to work every morning. Alfonso works as a lab technician, but Luis thinks... (full context)
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At Taft High School, Luis enrolls in art, photography, and literature classes, but his counselor tells him that these classes... (full context)
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After school, Luis spends time in the library, waiting for Alfonso to finish work. There, he reads some... (full context)
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In 1970, there’s a months-long teachers’ strike in Los Angeles. Luis stops going to school, even after the strike. He continues going to libraries, reading William... (full context)
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One day, Luis sits in his garage, listening to jazz. Chicharrón knocks, calling him outside. Chicharrón introduces Luis... (full context)
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In the back of the restaurant, Luis finds himself face-to-face with the owner, a man named Charles Kearney. Kearney tells Luis he’s... (full context)
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Luis attends a youth center to see Chente speak. Afterwards, Chente summons Luis to his office... (full context)
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That summer, Luis works for the Neighborhood Youth Corps, thanks to Chente. He becomes deeply involved in the... (full context)
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Luis is nothing special when it comes to boxing, but he has “heart.” As a result,... (full context)
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Soon afterwards, Luis learns that Yuk Yuk and his friend have stolen a car and gotten into a... (full context)
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Luis attends a group called The Collective, organized by Chente. The group studies politics, philosophy, and... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...protest the Vietnam War. It’s the largest anti-war protest ever held in a minority community. Luis participates in the protest, with Chente’s encouragement. (full context)
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Luis and his peers march through the streets, chanting anti-war slogans. The area is riddled with... (full context)
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The next day, Luis witnessed Charles Manson ranting about “niggers and spics.” For the next couple days, Luis is... (full context)
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Los Angeles undergoes some major changes during Luis’s childhood and teen years. In 1965, fires from the Watts Rebellion destroy many buildings in... (full context)
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Shortly after his stint in prison, Luis attends a dance at the local church. At the dance, Luis runs into Viviana, the... (full context)
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In the following weeks, Luis and Viviana spend lots of time together. Luis feels that Viviana teaches him “poetry” just... (full context)
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Afterwards, Viviana stops returning Luis’s calls. He tries to see her, but she won’t even answer her door. A month... (full context)
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In the fall, Luis returns to high school. The principal there, Mr. Madison, is new, and wants to encourage... (full context)
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...To Help Mexican American Students. The club’s sponsor is a Chicano teacher named Mrs. Baez. Luis becomes more and more active in this club, which is intended to promote Chicano culture... (full context)
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...experience: first, repairing the school’s physical deterioration; second, respecting the dignity of Chicano students. At Luis’s high school, the mascots are a pair of Aztecs, one male, one female, who are... (full context)
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Luis and Esmeralda study Aztec dance for weeks, and María, along with mothers of other ToHMAS... (full context)
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During their audition, Luis and Esmeralda act very serious, unlike the clownish white duos who audition for the part.... (full context)
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Luis and Esmeralda’s success inspires other Chicano students to join ToHMAS. The group puts on dances... (full context)
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Luis enjoys his work for ToHMAS, but becomes frustrated that things aren’t changing for Chicano students... (full context)
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Soon after, Luis and many Chicano classmates—at least 300—walk out of their classes. Mrs. Baez has an angry... (full context)
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At the school assembly, Luis speaks on behalf of the Chicano movement. He emphasizes that he and his classmates are... (full context)
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At The Collective, Luis learns about the importance of social science. Chente emphasizes that it’s not enough to rely... (full context)
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...party, a man rushes in and shouts that some “white bikers” tried to attack him. Luis joins his friends in driving to find the attackers. Eventually, they do—only to find that... (full context)
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Luis runs to his friend Roger Nelson’s house and asks to borrow a rifle. Roger lends... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Following the events of the last chapter, Luis is in prison. He’s seventeen, meaning that he can be prosecuted as an adult. As... (full context)
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Luis’s parents don’t visit him in jail. But he gets another visitor: Chente. Chente tells him,... (full context)
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In the following weeks, Luis returns to school. Esmeralda and the other ToHMAS members just say they’re glad Luis is... (full context)
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The white bikers refuse to cooperate with the cops by identifying Luis and his friends. However, the police are able to trace the gun back to Roger... (full context)
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...people with an “economic foundation” that will give them incentive to stay away from gangs. Luis agrees, “It wouldn’t hurt if we had jobs.” (full context)
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...then brutally raped her. It’s whispered that Lomas killed Cokie, but many other Lomas, including Luis, are frightened by the crime, and conclude that nobody, Sangra or Loma, deserves that kind... (full context)
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At school, ToHMAS membership skyrockets. Luis and his peers organize Chicano dances. He continues to serve as the school mascot, encouraging... (full context)
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Luis and the other ToHMAS members organize a dance, and Delfina attends. Afterwards, Luis asks her... (full context)
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Love, Luis argues, is a word that “easily skims across our lips.” As a result, some people... (full context)
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 One day, Luis learns that his friend Sheila is pregnant. She’s afraid that if she tells her parents,... (full context)
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One day, Chente inspects the drawings Luis has made over the years and says that Luis has been invited to work on... (full context)
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One night, police officers arrest Miguel Robles, Luis’s old friend. This is strange, because Miguel has been “going straight” for a year. He’s... (full context)
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...gangs’ leaders accept. Soon after, word gets out that Miguel has died in the hospital. Luis thinks, “Miguel, you were the best of us!” (full context)
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...the meeting, he hands out guns and organizes a retaliation against the death of Santos. Luis hesitates and then points out that Sangra is probably plotting a “hit,” too. He argues... (full context)
Chapter 9
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That fall, Luis starts his senior year of school—he’s ToHMAS president. He attends the new Chicano Studies class,... (full context)
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...Mr. Humes’s words. Someone slashes Mr. Humes’s tires, and other Chicano students attack white students. Luis witnesses a fight between white and Chicano students, and tries to pull them apart. In... (full context)
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...teacher, is fired, supposedly because he’s inattentive to students’ needs (though the opposite is true, Luis claims). Luis talks about organizing a walkout to protest Pérez’s firing. Mrs. Baez encourages him... (full context)
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...the walkout, scheduled for 1 pm, Mr. Madison announces a surprise assembly at the stadium. Luis knows Mr. Madison is doing this to interfere with the walkout. At the assembly, Madison... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Mrs. Baez returns Luis’s stories and poems, telling him that they’re wonderful and suggesting that he submit them for... (full context)
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Luis pauses to discuss the Chicano experience with language. As with many Chicanos, Luis is discouraged... (full context)
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Luis wins a prize in a statewide literary contest. He’s given a publishing contract and flown... (full context)
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During one of his high school visits, Luis meets a high school student named Camila Martínez. Luis invites Camila to come to some... (full context)
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One night, Luis learns that one of his girlfriends, Terry, is pregnant with his child. Luis is stunned.... (full context)
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The gang warfare between the neighborhoods continues, despite Luis’s attempts to preserve the peace. One night, a gunfight breaks out between Sangra and Loma... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Luis starts spending more time with Camila. Life is going well for him, especially now that... (full context)
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Luis witnesses a fight between a woman and some police officers who are trying to arrest... (full context)
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For his preliminary hearing, Luis is assigned a public defender and grouped with another defendant named Licha, aged twenty-seven. Licha... (full context)
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Luis now has to figure out how to post bail. After trying to get money from... (full context)
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In the coming weeks, Luis focuses on his upcoming hearing. He speaks to a judge in San Gabriel who helped... (full context)
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Licha invites Luis to visit her in her neighborhood. Luis obliges, but when, after hours of travel and... (full context)
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While Luis prepares for his hearing, his work and other projects suffer. Quinto Sol is starting to... (full context)
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On the day of his hearing, Luis swallows hard and tells his judge that he’ll accept a guilty plea in exchange for... (full context)
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On the day Luis is released from jail, Licha comes to see him. She invites him to stay with... (full context)
Chapter 10
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After his release from jail, Luis stops attending college. He works in a paper factory but continues to organize grassroots political... (full context)
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One night soon afterwards, Luis and some of his old friends are hanging out. A gang member offers Luis a... (full context)
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The same night, Luis is walking home when a car full of Loma members passes by. To Luis’s amazement,... (full context)
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Soon after this incident, Luis visits Chente and tells him that he’s ready to leave his neighborhood for good. With... (full context)
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A lot happens after Luis leaves San Pedro. The police officers who killed Miguel Robles are acquitted—just like “virtually every... (full context)
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In the years following Luis’s relocation, his old neighborhood changes. There’s an influx of Chinese and Japanese immigrants, and American... (full context)
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Luis travels to political conferences with Chente. He later moves to Boyle Heights in Los Angeles,... (full context)
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The chapter ends in the late ‘80s, with Luis attending his cousin’s quinceñera in San Gabriel. By this time, he’s married and has a... (full context)
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Chava cries out, “Somebody has to pay!” and pulls out a knife. Luis can see how disturbed Chava is—it’s as if he wants to hurt someone “just to... (full context)
Epilogue
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Luis dedicates his memoir to his children, especially his son Ramiro. Ramiro is still young, but... (full context)
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...citywide response to the acquittal of the four police officers who viciously beat Rodney King. Luis has seen plenty of uprisings in his life—he was eleven years old during the 1965... (full context)
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...from his stepfather. Since that time, he has read his poetry to audiences of thousands. Luis sees a fire in Ramiro; he encourages him to “draw on your expressive powers” and... (full context)