Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Luis Valdez's Zoot Suit. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Zoot Suit: Introduction
Zoot Suit: Plot Summary
Zoot Suit: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Zoot Suit: Themes
Zoot Suit: Quotes
Zoot Suit: Characters
Zoot Suit: Terms
Zoot Suit: Symbols
Zoot Suit: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Luis Valdez
Historical Context of Zoot Suit
Other Books Related to Zoot Suit
- Full Title: Zoot Suit
- When Published: Premiered in 1979
- Literary Period: Postmodernism
- Genre: Documentary Play; Political Theater; Historical Drama; Musical
- Setting: Los Angeles during World War II
- Climax: While Henry Reyna endures solitary confinement in prison, Los Angeles is overrun by the Zoot Suit Riots, in which angry white servicemen and civilians target minority groups wearing zoot suits.
- Antagonist: Racism; cultural insensitivity; biased news outlets
- Point of View: Dramatic
Extra Credit for Zoot Suit
The Big Screen. In 1981, Luis Valdez adapted Zoot Suit as a film. The production starred Daniel Valdez (Luis’s brother) and Edward James Olmos (of Blade Runner fame).
Reality Check. Luis Valdez based Henry Reyna on a real man named Henry Leyvas, whose life perfectly matches the fictionalized version that Valdez includes in Zoot Suit. Although Valdez leaves his character’s future ambiguous at the end of the play, the real Henry was arrested on drug charges not long after winning his appeal in the Sleepy Lagoon trial. After serving time for over a decade, he ran a restaurant called Hank’s before dying of a heart attack in 1971.