Trash

Trash

by

Andy Mulligan

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Raphael Fernández Character Analysis

A 14-year-old “trash boy” who lives on a landfill called Behala with his auntie and cousins. Like most of the other children in the landfill, Raphael and his best friend, Gardo, spends their days sifting through mountains of trash (which are mostly comprised of human excrement) searching for valuable items that they can sell for food. Raphael is prone to bouts of anxiety but he’s still relatively childlike and carefree in spite of his difficult life. Raphael’s life changes, however, when he discovers a bag belonging to a man named José Angelico, which contains clues to a stolen fortune. The city police brutally beat Raphael in an attempt to gain information about the fortune, but Raphael (though traumatized) doesn’t give up the bag because he feels solidarity with José Angelico, who was killed by police during Angelico’s own interrogation. Raphael—along with Gardo and another young boy from Behala named Rat—manages to stay one step ahead of the corrupt police force. Despite the boys’ lack of education, they’re able to outwit the police, find the stolen fortune, and distribute it in Behala for the poorest of the poor to find, just as José Angelico wished. Along with Gardo, Rat, and Pia Dante (José Angelico’s young orphaned daughter), Raphael escapes to a life on the beach, away from the stinking landfill.

Raphael Fernández Quotes in Trash

The Trash quotes below are all either spoken by Raphael Fernández or refer to Raphael Fernández. 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:
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ember edition of Trash published in 2011.
Part 1: Chapter 1 Quotes

No, never—because what we mainly find is stupp.

Related Characters: Raphael Fernández (speaker)
Related Symbols: Trash
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

Gardo’s my partner, and we always work together. He looks after me.

Related Characters: Raphael Fernández (speaker), Gardo
Related Symbols: Trash
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

We get the fast food too, and that’s a little business in itself. It doesn’t come out near me and Gardo, it goes down the far end, and about a hundred kids sort out the straws, the cups, and the chicken bones. Everything turned, cleaned and bagged up – cycled down to the weighers, weighed and sold.

Related Characters: Raphael Fernández (speaker), Gardo
Related Symbols: Trash
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Chapter 4 Quotes

Trash is often wet, and the juices are always running. Maybe the ground here was a bit lower, I don’t know—but it was always muddy […] I got down low with the candle, trying not to breathe too deep because of the stink […] It might seem crazy asking a kid if you can come into his hole, but this hole was about the only thing Rat had, apart from what he wore. I would not have lived there – anywhere would have been better.

Related Symbols: Trash
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

When Smoky Mountain went down, there were nearly a hundred killed, and everyone knows some of those poor souls are still down there, down with the trash, turned into trash, rotting with the trash.

Related Characters: Raphael Fernández (speaker), Gardo, Rat / Jun / Jun-Jun
Related Symbols: Trash
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Chapter 5 Quotes

On the other hand, I did not want Raphael hiding and drawing attention that way, so that’s why I kept him right in the middle of it.

Related Characters: Gardo (speaker), Raphael Fernández, Rat / Jun / Jun-Jun
Related Symbols: Trash
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

Ten thousand is a lot of money!

Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Chapter 6 Quotes

I was told once about runaways, and it made me sick. How if a new kid shows up with nowhere to go, and the police get him—they wait till night, break his legs and put him on the tracks.

Related Characters: Raphael Fernández (speaker), Gardo, Rat / Jun / Jun-Jun
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2: Chapter 2 Quotes

It sounds crazy, but there was some part of me sure I’d never found it, and some other part of me begging me not to give up—maybe for José Angelico, because we knew more about him now.

Related Symbols: Trash
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3: Chapter 1 Quotes

When one of their number is hurt, everyone feels the wound.

Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3: Chapter 3 Quotes

Behala also makes you want to weep, because it looks like an awful punishment that will never end – and if you have any imagination, you can see the child and what he is doomed to do for the rest of his life. When you see the old man, too weak to work, propped in a chair outside his shack, you think, That is Raphael in forty years. What could possibly change? These children are doomed to breathe the stink all day, all night, sifting the effluent of the city. Rats and children, children and rats, and you sometimes think they have pretty much the same life.

Related Symbols: Trash
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4: Chapter 4 Quotes

Once again, the trash boys were ahead of the trash police.

Related Symbols: Trash
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4: Chapter 6 Quotes

Rat had been chased so often, and grabbed at so often, that he must have had extra senses.

Related Characters: Raphael Fernández (speaker), Gardo, Rat / Jun / Jun-Jun
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4: Chapter 7 Quotes

What was ten million dollars doing in your house, sir?

Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 5: Chapter 1 Quotes

We were amongst wealthy people in very fancy clothes, and we felt even greyer and dirtier, but there was nothing for it, and still nobody was worrying about us – no one seemed to see us, like we were ghosts.

Page Number: 198
Explanation and Analysis:

And that is when we saw the brightest light.

Related Symbols: Brightest Light, Trash
Page Number: 198
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 5: Chapter 5 Quotes

I wanted to hang back and see what happened when the first trash boy of the morning hooked up—not a stupp, but a hundred dollar bill.

Related Symbols: Trash
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Trash LitChart as a printable PDF.
Trash PDF

Raphael Fernández Character Timeline in Trash

The timeline below shows where the character Raphael Fernández appears in Trash. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 1
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Raphael Fernández is a dumpsite boy. Though he hates to say it, the thing he finds... (full context)
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Raphael has been a “trash boy” since he was three. These children look for plastic (which... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 2
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Raphael recounts the day everything changed: he is working with Gardo by the crane belts that... (full context)
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Suddenly, a small leather bag falls out of the bag and into Raphael’s hands. Inside is a map of the city, a key with a yellow tag labeled... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 3
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
That evening, Raphael and Gardo are kicking a ball around while Raphael’s auntie boils rice over a communal... (full context)
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Raphael’s skin goes cold and he almost raises his hand, but something in him doesn’t trust... (full context)
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Raphael lives with his auntie. Raphael sleep in a box the size of a sheet with... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 4
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
...he’s nicknamed Rat because he lives in a trash hole full of rats. After dinner, Raphael and Gardo weave their way through a part of the dumpsite that disgusts them, knee-deep... (full context)
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Raphael explains that they need to hide a bag and Rat cheerfully agrees to stash it... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 5
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Gardo explains that Raphael forgot to mention he was so excited that he wanted to go to Central Station... (full context)
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
...are excited because McKinley residents have toilets, meaning the trash had no stupp. Gardo and Raphael start to realize how important this bag is to the police and they both feel... (full context)
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
...mood in Behala’s “little neighbourhood” around the cooking fires; some people even have beer. Only Raphael’s auntie is worried. Gardo still thinks it was stupid for her to speak up—the police... (full context)
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Raphael smiles easily and he assures his auntie that there is nothing in the house and... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 6
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
The next day, Raphael and Rat convince Gardo to lead them to the station. Gardo insists they go early... (full context)
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
...right before it arrives in order to avoid the station guards. Gardo nearly falls on Raphael, whereas Raphael notices that Rat is agile and fast. The three of them are immediately... (full context)
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Rat knows exactly what he’s doing: he ducks behind some customers while Raphael and Gardo walk right past as if nothing happened. The lockers aren’t smashed, which meant... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 1
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Father Juilliard explains that the house mother, Sister Olivia, is actually—and foolishly—more involved in Raphael’s tale. One Thursday, a thin and ashy Jun offers to pay if he, Raphael, and... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 2
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Raphael says that the story gets serious now. As Gardo predicted, four vans of police come... (full context)
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
The police car pulls into the station and goes underground while police dogs bark. Raphael wets himself out of fear. The officers pull him out of the car under bright... (full context)
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
The tired man says that this won’t end until Raphael gives them the bag. Shaking, Raphael knocks over a glass of water. Playing “a terrified,... (full context)
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
The tired man fires repeated questions at Raphael: he asks how “trash like you” can read (Gardo and Raphael’s auntie taught him), how... (full context)
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
The tired man twists Raphael’s arm behind him and says that they could break all of Raphael’s bones—starting with his... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 3
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Raphael runs amid the fresh, cool rain, feeling the world come back to him. He realizes... (full context)
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
...the vice-president, for whom Angelico worked as a houseboy for 18 years. It’s hard for Raphael to imagine that sort of money, which is even more in pesos. On the computer,... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 1
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
...22-year-old house-mother at the Mission School, says she also has a part in this story; Raphael, Rat, Gardo, and Father Juilliard asked her to “write it down carefully.” Originally, she traveled... (full context)
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
The day after Raphael returns from the police station, Jun brings him and Gardo to visit Olivia. When Raphael... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 2
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
...probably a survival tactic. The boys had a special plan for Father Juilliard. He thinks Raphael and Gardo were “smart” but what Jun did really shocked him.   (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 6
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
...confide in Olivia, but Gardo refused, and for that he’s sorry. Gardo was terrified for Raphael when they took him; Gardo thought Raphael would break, but he didn’t. After that, Gardo... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 8
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
In the present, Raphael apologizes to Olivia: he hopes to see her again and to thank her in person.... (full context)
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Rat says the rats ate the bag and he warns Raphael not to rob him. Raphael laughs until Rat pulls out a metal box containing a... (full context)
Part 3: Chapter 9
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Rat starts narrating (with Raphael writing for him). The boys take a bus to the terminal. Though Raphael is beaten... (full context)
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Suddenly, from behind, a gardener gently asked what the boys want. Raphael panics and he runs into the grass, but Rat yells out to calm him, knowing... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 1
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
...should hide out in a tourist area with lots of street kids; he even cuts Raphael’s hair to disguise him. Gardo, Rat, and Raphael rent a windowless room the size of... (full context)
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
...a truck to the city and he crawls under a blanket to cuddle next to Raphael, trying not to feel like an “ungrateful thief.” (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 2
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
...up his clothes so they looked different and he walks back, praying that Rat and Raphael are safe. (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 3
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
During the commotion, Raphael saw Rat running toward Gardo. Raphael takes off in the other direction, running into traffic... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 4
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Raphael sits down with Gardo to try to decode the Bible by candlelight. They flip to... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 5
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
...ladder creak—maybe it was José Angelico and Gabriel Olondriz’s help. He opens the hatch as Raphael freezes. Rat slaps Raphael and they climb silently onto the roof. They climb to the... (full context)
Part 4: Chapter 6
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
Raphael thinks that Rat must have extra senses from being chased so often—he knows to bolt... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 1
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
...traffic jam approaching the graveyard as crowds pour in for candlelit festivities among the graves. Raphael knows that the police wouldn’t have buried José Angelico, so they look for a family... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 2
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
...the other side of the graveyard among the poor people’s graves. The broken graves sadden Raphael the most. When people can’t afford the rent, the guards break the boxes and dump... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 3
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
...long black hair and a school uniform on, is sitting patiently atop a higher grave. Raphael explains to her that they’re looking for José Angelico. The girl didn’t think José was... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 4
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
...knows what to do: he feeds Pia water and a chopped-up banana, like baby food. Raphael and Gardo still think Rat saved her life. It turns out that Pia was brought... (full context)
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
...pry it open. Sure enough, the money is there. What does $6,000,000 look like? To Raphael, it looks like food, a new life, a future. They know they won’t steal it... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 5
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
...of stupp, but he knows they can’t hang around. At the bottom of the sack, Raphael finds another letter from José Angelico, which Gardo holds onto. They change into the school... (full context)
Part 5: Chapter 6
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Raphael, Gardo, Jun, and Pia Dante get on the train, looking just like all the other... (full context)