Trash

Trash

by

Andy Mulligan

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Trash: Part 4: Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Right after Gardo comes back to Behala, the police blaze in with sirens blaring, and the boys know they have to run. The boys grab Rat’s money and they sneak out through the trash with no time to say goodbyes. Rat decides that they 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 a “coffin” high up in a stack of shacks, and though Gardo makes fun of him, Rat loosens part of the roof in case they need to escape.
Rat continues to demonstrate his savvy, streetwise intelligence by leading the boys to a tourist area, cutting Raphael’s hair, and—most of all—anticipating the need for a hasty exit. The comparison of the boys’ room to a “coffin” likens those sleeping there to dead people, again suggesting that poor people are essentially dead to the rest of society.  
Themes
Childhood, Poverty, and Injustice Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
The boys know they need Olondriz’s Bible, so Gardo bravely walks to the prison and he watches the building for three days. Eventually, Gardo spots Marco leaving and he follows him, making sure to be seen. He returns with bad news: Marco wants 20,000 pesos for the Bible. They boys aren’t even sure if they can trust Marco—surely the price on their heads was high. Marco could easily take the money and turn the boys in, and they know they wouldn’t make it out alive. So they wait, watching the news, which features many pictures of Senator Zapanta. Rat is aching for the “fat pig’s” money and he thinks if he ever gets to heaven, he’ll ask the brave José Angelico if Angelico stashed the bag out of desperation or if he had a plan.
Gardo’s strategic thinking is highlighted in the way he approaches Marco without exposing himself to the rest of the guards, showing yet again how intelligent he is despite being uneducated. Marco’s demand for a bribe, as well as the high possibility of a price on the boys’ heads, explicitly show how corrupt the society is: it’s clear that the wealthy can use their money to manipulate the authorities. Rat’s admiration for José Angelico’s bravery shows a growing solidarity with José Angelico’s actions.
Themes
Corruption, Power, and Theft Theme Icon
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon
A week later, Rat goes back to the dumpsite in the back of a garbage truck. He doesn’t tell the boys why. To the reader, Rat admits that he habitually steals small unnoticeable amounts from the Mission School’s safe once a month (using the code Father Juilliard writes in his diary on his desk). Rat feels bad, but he opens the safe and takes all 23,000 pesos it contains—that will be enough to pay off Marco. Feeling guilty because Father Juilliard is like a father to him, Rat draws a picture of himself and Father Juilliard as best he can and he puts it in the safe. He rides in the back of a truck to the city and he crawls under a blanket to cuddle next to Raphael, trying not to feel like an “ungrateful thief.”
Mulligan once again highlights Rat’s intelligence through Rat’s ability to consistently and surreptitiously steal from the same place without being caught. At the same time, Rat’s guilt shows that he hasn’t been stealing out of greed, but necessity, since he usually only takes a tiny fraction of the money despite needing 50,000 pesos to start a new life, away from Behala’s trash and rats. The growing bond between Raphael and Rat shows that they are starting to become like family.
Themes
Community, Loyalty, and Solidarity Theme Icon
Intelligence, Education, and Street Smarts Theme Icon