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CHI 10 Paper Dr. Lorena V. Márquez Fall 2021 DUE: Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at 11:59 a.m. DIRECTIONS: 1. Please write a four to five-page, typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, size 12, and with one-inch margin paper on the novel, Always Running. 2. Be sure your name, section number, TA and paper title appears on the first page. 3. Now that you’ve received feedback on the first two pages of your rough draft from your TA, you must address any issues and revise your draft accordingly. Remember, TAs have access to previous comments made on Canvas and will know if you did not make any changes. Failure to edit your paper, will affect your overall grade. 4. Be sure to number your pages at the bottom, right hand corner. 5. Do not use outside sources. 6. Every paragraph, with the exception of the introduction and conclusion, should have one quotation or citation from novel to support your argument: (Rodríguez, 23). 7. Be careful not to overquote, limit one or two short quotes per paragraph. You will be penalized for having too many quotes. Nobody wants to read a paper full of quotes. 8. In the conclusion, you can voice your own opinion about the novel and use “I” statements. 9. Have a topic sentence for every paragraph. A topic sentence informs the reader what you will be addressing in the paragraph. 10. Please submit paper on Canvas. Please submit a couple hours in advance in case you have technical or wireless issues. LATE POLICY: Late papers, regardless of excuse, will be penalized a grade for every day (24 hours—including weekends and holidays) it is overdue. No late papers will be accepted without documented proof (medical or similar) excusing the tardiness of the assignment. USE FOLLOWING TEXT: Luis Rodriguez, Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. (East Haven, CT: Curbstone Press, 1993) CITATIONS: Please make sure to properly cite sources using MLA style. For example: (Rodríguez, 55). Also, place quotation marks when using direct wording from book. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism. Each paragraph must have at least one citation, with the exception of the introduction and conclusion. ESSAY PROMPT: In his memoir, Luis Rodríguez walks us through his life from childhood through young adulthood. The harsh realities around him shape his world view: “By the time I turned 18 years old, 25 of my friends had been killed by rival gangs, police, drugs, car crashes and suicides.” (Rodríguez, 4). Rodríguez sees himself as “lucky” because he was able to escape death, prison, or a crime driven existence. He, unlike many of his peers, was able to get out—to escape. Young men, especially young men of color, in impoverished neighbors are often lured into gang life. For some, partaking in gang activities is not an option—often times they are forced to and failing to do so could result in a beating or death. There are few alternatives or positive outlets for them and consequently gangs gain the upper hand. According to Rodríguez, who is ultimately to blame for his involvement in gangs and who/what does he credit for “saving” him from gangs? Why are gangs so appealing to some? C HAPTER Two “If you ain’t from no barrio, then you ain’t horn.” – a 10-year-old boy from South San Gabriel One evening dusk came early in South San Gabriel, with wind and cold spinning to earth. People who had been sitting on porches or on metal chairs near fold-up tables topped with cards and beer bottles collected their things to go inside. Others put on sweaters or jackets. A storm gathered beyond the trees. Tino and I strolled past the stucco and wood-frame homes of the neighborhood consisting mostly of Mexicans with a sprinkling of poor white familie s (usuall y from Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas) . Ranchera music did battle with Country & Western songs as we continued toward the local elementary school, an oil-and-grime stained basketball under my arm. We stopped in front of a chain-link fence which surrounded the school. An old brick building cast elongated shadows over a basketball court of concrete on the other side of the fence. Leaves and paper swirled in tiny tornadoes. ”Let’s go over,” Tino proposed. I looked up and across the fence. A sign above us read: NO ONE ALLOWED AFTER 4:30 PM, BY ORDER OF THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT. Tino turned toward me, shrugged his shoulders and gave me a whocares look. “Help me up, man, then throw the ball over.” I cupped my hands and 1ifted Tino up while the boy scaled the fence, jumped over and landed on sneakered feet. ”Come on, Luis, let’s go,” Tino shouted from the other side. I threw over the basketball, walked back a ways, then ran and jumped on the fence, only to fall back. Although we were both 10 years old, I cut a shorter shadow. “Forget you, man,” Tino said. “I’m going to play without you.” 35 ALWAYS RUNNING ”Wait!” I yelled, while walking further back. I crouched low to the ground, then took off, jumped up and placed torn sneakers in the steel mesh. I made it over with a big thud. Wiping the grass and dirt from my pants, I casually walked up to the ball on the ground, picked it up, and continued past Tino toward the courts. ”Hey Tino, what are you waiting for?” The gusts proved no obstacle for a half-court game of Bball, even as dark clouds smothered the sky. Boy voices interspersed with ball cracking on asphalt. Tino’s lanky figure seemed to float across the court, as if he had wings under his thin arms. Just then, a black-and-white squad car cruised down the street. A searchlight sprayed across the school yard. The vehicle slowed to a halt. The light shone toward the courts and caught Tino in mid-flight of a lay-up. The dribbling and laughter stopped. “All right, this is the sheriff’s,” a voice commanded. Two deputies stood by the fence, batons and flashlights in hand. ”Let’s get out of here,”•Tino responded. “What do you mean?” I countered. “Why don’t we just stay here?” “You nuts! We trespassing, man,” Tino replied. “When they get a hold of us, they going to beat the crap out of us.” “Are you sure?” “I know, believe me, I know.” ”So where do we go?” By then one of the deputies shouted back: “You boys get over here by the fence – now!” But Tino dropped the ball and ran. I heard the deputies yell for Tino to stop. One of them began climbing the fence. I decided to take off too. It never stopped, this running. We were constant prey, and the. hunters soon became big blurs: the police, the gangs, the junkies, the dudes on Garvey Boulevard who took our money, alt smudged into one. Sometimes they were teachers who jumped on us Mexicans as if we were born with a hideous stain. We were always afraid. Always running. 36 1 C HAPT ER Two Tino and I raced toward .the dark. boxes call ed classrooms. h still without th . The rooms lay there, auntmgly . e voices of . sounds ch1·ldren’ the commands of uate teachers or the clapping of t,ooks as they were close~. The rooms were empty’ forbidden places at night. ~e scurned around the structures toward a courtyard filled with benches next to the cafeteria building. · Tino hopped on a bench, then pulled himself over a high fence. He walked a foot or two on top of it, stopped, and proceeded to climb over to the cafeteria’s rooftop. I looked over my shoulder. The deputies weren’t far behind, their guns drawn. I grabbed hold of the fence on the side of the cafeteria. I looked .up and saw Tino’s perspiring face over the roof’s edge, his arm extended down toward me. I tried to climb up, my feet dangling. But then a firm hand seized a foot and pulled at it. “rhey got me!” I yelled. 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. Wfino!” I cried out. A deputy restrained me as the other one climbed onto the roof. He stopped at a skylight, jagged edges on one of its sides. Shining a flashlight inside the building, the officer spotted Tina’s misshapen body on the floor, sprinkled over with shards of glas.s. After the aborted trip to Mexico, a poverty agency helped our family find a rented place within our means: a square, one• bedroom clapboard house on La Presa Street in an unincorporated part of the county called South San Gabriel. The living room served as sleeping quarters for my mom, sisters and dad. My brother and I had the only bedroom to ourselves, along with piles of stuffed boxes. On hot nights, Rano 37 Al WAYS RUNNI NG and I slept outside under the openness of the desert sky. It was similar to Watts, but at least it was a home of our own again. Incorporated towns like Monterey Park, Rosemead and Montebello surrounded South San Gabriel. The area was located in the San Gabriel Valley, which for years consisted of incipient industry, farmland and migrant camps until Los Angeles stretched out 6ngers of suburban sprawl to the furthest reaches of the valley. There used to be a com field not far away from our house on La Presa Street. I remember playing there with my friends. Once, though , a farmer came at us with a loaded shotgu n while we swerved . and pivoted out of his range throug h the stalks of com. By the early 1970s, this area was tom up and office buildings, and parking lots replaced the rows of stalks which once swayed free in the wind, which once held our imaginations afire with war play, clod-throwing contests, and majestic worlds of conquest. By then, with the farmlands and many of the Mexicans of Klingerman Street removed, the City of Rosemead annexed this part of South San Gabriel and it ceased being unwanted county territory. Unincorporated county territory was generally where the poorest people lived, the old barrios, which for the most part didn’t belong to any city because nobody wanted them. Most of Watts and a large section of East Los Angeles were unincorporated county territory. Sometimes they had no sewage system or paved roads. They included hills, ravines and hollows. The Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department – known as the most brutal of the local law enforcement agencies – policed these areas. In the mid-60s, South San Gabriel included both flat areas and what we called the Hills, or Las Lomas. The Hills were made up of tiny houses patched together by weathered wood, chicken wire and creaking porches that buckled and swayed like a boat on an open sea. Cadavers of rusted cars filled up yellowed yards. Tom sofas, broken lamps and threadless tires were strewn about in vacant lots. The roads turned and twisted every which way; they 38 CHAPTER Two were dusty, curbless streets that might have served as goat trails at one time. Coming down one of the dirt roads, you could encounter chickens, wild dogs or pigs. Some back yards held the wood-andwire sheds of fighting cocks, or the copper pipings of a backyard still. The Hills were unseen. Unvisited. Cars flew past north of here on the San Bernardino Freeway into Los Angeles, but most of the drivers never imagined such a place existed, a place you could have found in the Ozarks or the hills of Tijuana. Bruja, Bruja. Whispers of morning, whispers of night, children without faces tormenting with a word, descending like a torrent of leaves, like the blaze of dawn. A never-ending litany. Bruja, Bruja. The conspiracy of voices greets the old woman who lives in an almost toppled, unpainted house next door; her back yard dense with overgrown weeds. They say she is a witch. The children hide in bushes or ~hind fences and taunt her as she lumbers outside to put out trash or water her grassless yard. “iBruja, Bruja!” They sling dirt clods at her feet, tease her to tears, dare her to strike away at this cancer of childhood that makes her last days alone in this clapboard cottage feel like the hell fires she herself condemns the voices to. The old woman grabs a trash-can lid or a broom and pursues the children who scamper out of the way, laughing and jeering as she creaks •in her bones. One Halloween, the woman offers the neighborhood children cookies – but the talk is she made them with cyanide. Nobody eats the cookies, but soon all the cats in the neighborhood vanish, and nobody knows why. One morning, uniformed men bust into the old woman’s house. Sheriff’s deputies pull her from out of the debris-strewn 39 ALWAYS RUNNIN G guts of the wood-shingle dwelling; the woman never cleaned it. They take the woman away, never to come back. It ·turns out she had been babysitting three small children when, for an unknown reason, the kids’ parents never came back for them. The woman ran out of food. One day, tras~ collectors find three children in a playpen next to the morning garbage. Angry voices close in on the woman’s house after her removal. A few kids throw rocks at the windows, the glass falling like raindrops skewing down a marble wall. Somebody pours ga.soline on the splintered porch. Somebody tosses a twirled newspaper lit at the top. Next door, the glow washes across faces as we observe the house crackle and tumble in a craze of flames. t t t The Mexicans who came to live in the San Gabriel Valley worked the fields, the railroads or in the encroaching industry which soon dotted the valley. Their barrios had names like El Jardin (the garden), Monte Flores (mountain flowers), Canta Ranas (singing frogs – named for the watery inhabitants of a local swamp), Bolen (a Spanish -corruption of Baldwin Park), or La Puente (the bridge). Las Lomas was an old barrio whose main rivals were to the west, in East Los Angeles, or the north in another barrio called Sangra. Sangra was a corruption of San Gabriel, an incorporated city built around one of the Spanish Missions founded by Father Junfpero Serra in the 1700s. A major Indian village, Yang Na, was once situated here. Later when the railroads linked many of the missions, they brought in Mexican laborers who became the first barrio residents . It didn’t take long for middle-income Anglos, primarily fleeing L.A.’s inner-city as it filled up with people of color, to move in and around these barrios and create the first suburbs. New tracts of homes suddenly appeared on previously empty space or by displacing the barrios. In later years, large 40 CHAPTE R Two of Asians from Japan, Korea and Taiwan also moved umbers the area. Sections of Monterey Park and even San Gabriel ~ known as Little Japans or Chinatowns. It wasn’t hard to into becdame unpaved road cluttered with shacks on one· block while a d fin an es grace another. townhous ucco t . . , . . rowof s The barrios which weren t incorpor ated, including Las Lomas, became self.-contained a~d forbidden, incubators of rebellion which the local media, . generally controlle d by burban whites, labeled havens of cnme. su For years, nobody ventured into Las Lomas unless they had to be there. Buses refused to provide residents there any service. Sheriff’s deputies entered it with full firepower and ample backup, hardly ever alone. One of the county’s most devastati ng increases in gang activity centered on Las Lomas. We didn’t call ourselves gangs. We called ourselves clubs or clicas. In the back lot of the local elementary school, about a year after Tinds–d eath, five of us gathered in the grass and created a club – “Thee Impersonations,” the ”Thee” being an old English usage that other clubs would adopt because it made everything sound classier, nobler, badder. It was something to belong to – something that was ours. We weren’t in boy scouts, in sports teams or camping groups. Thee Impersonations is how we wove something out of the threads of nothing. “We all taking a pledge,” Miguel Robles said. “A pledge to be for each other. To stand up for the clica. Thee Impersonations will never let you down. Don’t ever let Thee Impersonations down.” Miguel was 11 years old like the rest of us. Dark, curlyhaired and good-looking, he was also sharp in running, baseball and schoolwork – and a leader. Miguel was not prone to loudness or needless talking, but we knew he was the best among us. We made him president of our club. 41 ◄ ALWAYS RUNNING Thee Impersonations was born of necessity. It started one day at the school during lunch break. A few of us guys were standing around talking to some girls – girls we were beginning to see as women. They had makeup and short skirts. They had teased hair and menstruations. They grew breasts. They were no longer Yolanda, Guadalupe or Marfa – they were Yoli, Lupe and Mari. Some of the boys were still in grass-stained jeans with knee patches and had only begun getting uncontrollable hard-ons·. The girls ~owered over the summer, and it looked near impossible for some of us to catch up. Older dudes from junior high school, or even some who didn’t go to school, would come to the school and give us chilled looks as they scoped out the young women. That day, a caravan of low-scraping cars slow-dragged in front ·of the school. A crew of mean-looking vatos piled out, anned with chains, bats, metal pipes and zip guns. “Thee Mystics rule,” one of them yelled from the other side of the school fence. . Thee Mystics were a tough up-~d-com ing group. They fired their rigged .22s at ~e school and broke a couple of windows with stones. They rammed through- the gate and front entrances. Several not-so-swift dudes who stood in their way got beat. Even teachers ·r an for cover. Terror filled everyone’s eyes. I froze as the head-stomping came dangerously my way. But I also intrigued. I wanted this power. I wanted to be able to bring a whole school to its knees and even make teachers squirm. All my school life until then had been poised against me: telling me what to be, what to say, how to say it. I was a broken boy, shy and fearful. I wanted what Thee Mystics had; I wanted the power to hurt somebody. Police sirens broke th~ spell. Dudes scattered in all directions. But Thee Mystics ‘had done their damage. They had left their mark on the school – and on me. Miguel and the rest of us started Thee Impersonations because we needed protection. There were other clubs popping up all over, 42 CHAPTER rnanv challenging anybody who wasn’t into anything Two All f 0 den every dude had to claim a clique. · a sudSome of these clubs included Thee Ravens Th S . . . ‘ e upenors I Latin Legions, Thee m1tat1ons, Los Santos and Chug-a- lug (a’ curious mix of Anglo and Mexican dudes). These were the “Southside” clubs (for South San Gabriel}. The biggest on the Southside then were Thee Illusions and their allies: Thee Mystics, Over in San Gabriel, other cliques were formed such as Thee Regents, The Chancellors, Little Gents, The Intruders and Little Jesters. Most of the clubs began quite innocently. Maybe they were a team of guys for friendly football. Sometimes they were set up for trips to the beach or the mountains. But some became more organized. They obtained jackets, with their own colors, and identification cards. Later a few of the cliques became car clubs, who invested what little they had in bouncing lowriders, street-wise “shorts,” splashed with colors, which cruised the main drags of local barrios or the main cruising spot we called the boulevard: Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles. Then also some of the clubs metamorphosed into something more unpredictable, more encompassing. Something more deadly. Junior high school became the turning point. After grammar school, I ended up going to Richard Garvey Intermediate School. My father had gotten a job as a “laboratory technician” at a Los Angeles community college. So we moved into a larger, two-bedroom place in territory which stood between the two major barrios: Las Lomas and Sangra. This meant I had to go to Garvey. In the mid-1960s, the students at Garvey had some of the worst academic scores in the state. Most of the time, there were no p…
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