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The Deterioration of Romero in El Tonto Del Barrio

The Deterioration of Romero in El Tonto Del Barrio

After reading Jose Armas’s story, “El Tonto Del Barrio,” I was greatly touched by this simple yet effective story of how the village idiot is used to teach a lesson to the audience. However, after researching the topic, I found that there had been no literary discussion concerning Armas or “El Tonto del Barrio.” I was shocked to find this out, and I believe this is an interesting and important story which should be looked into. “El Tonto del Barrio” is not just a story about a college-bound young man named Seferino who tries to help the community “idiot” Romero, but it is also a story about a man who slowly deteriorates when his pride is taken away and his dignity not acknowledged.

First, to understand how Romero deteriorates, we must look at how life for Romero was before Seferino tried to pay him wages for sweeping. Romero seemed happy, and he was always whistling and singing. In the first line of the story Armas even states, “Romero Estrado was called El Cotoro (The Parrot) because he was always whistling and singing” (1137). Armas at first makes no obvious remarks that Romero was a moron who should be avoided; in fact, the story discusses only the respect that people of the town had for Romero. Romero is even called “a respected citizen” (1138). It is interesting to note that Armas mentions that “Not even the kids made fun of him. It just was not permitted” (1138). This point lets the audience know that Romero was respected enough that even parents taught their children to respect him despite his faults. It is apparent that the town knew Romero was a little “touchy” (1138), but the citizens choose to overlook his faults.

The citizens of the town and Romero…

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…nd Kathleen Wilson. Cumulative Index. Michigan: Gale Research, Inc., 1998.

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Toni Morrison’s Beloved – The Prophetic Healer

The Prophetic Healer of Beloved

In her novel Beloved, Toni Morrison creates Amy Denver’s character to serve as a prophetic healer. Amy speaks directly to Jesus, recites prophetic like wisdom, and possesses strange abilities to create good. Amy Denver was sent by a higher power to ensure that Sethe reached her well-deserved freedom; their meeting was anything but coincidental.

We are introduced to Amy Denver indirectly by Beloved’s curiosity. Perhaps Beloved wants to know just how this happy-go-lucky individual came about. After all, even Denver felt a strangeness about her birth that made her feel, “like a bill was owing somewhere… But who she owed or what to pay it with eluded her.” (77) Life’s mysteries do that. Suddenly the book takes us to the pitch of the Kentucky forest where Sethe is not only tired, scared and lost, but also completely alone. In times like these we feel an intense need for human contact. If and when we are rescued by a simple voice, and they are willing to extend themself, it seems to restore our faith in mankind and life is living. “Come here Jesus,” Amy calmly tells Sethe. Let us not forget the circumstances in which Sethe is in the midst of. These are the words she desires, rather deserves to hear. But more importantly, why does Amy call Sethe such a divine name? Surely one could theorize that Sethe acts as Jesus in “Beloved” but we will save that for someone else. Still, one must not lose sight of the fact that Amy sees Sethe. By this I mean Amy deeply perceives a gentle soul containing struggle, sorrow, hope and goodness. Furthermore, Amy also creates “Lu” …

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…creation to be called Denver. In the bible each creation passage ends in the phrase, “And God saw that it was good.” Much in the same fashion Morrison admits in “Beloved” that both Amy and Sethe created, “appropriately and well.” She alludes to this Bible ending while keeping respect for the verbatim verse.

Amy Denver’s character was created to act as prophet in the freedom and creation of Sethe and Denver. Together, all three are not just ordinary people. Amy can speak prophetically and create with nature’s help while nature adapts to her needs. She speaks truth, while gently healing both physical and mental wounds. In short, she is one of those people we see and can’t keep our eyes off. Sethe too, follows her motions and trusts an Anglo-Saxon human for the first time.

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