In the passage from “Plum Plum Pickers,” Raymond Barrio states that “a man counts for something;” he also includes that “men experience a certain sense of honor and pride” (41). The words “honor and pride,” both contain a sense of great self-respect. Manuel, the protagonist, a good guy defends himself for what he believes is right for his fellow Mexican people. By defending himself, Manuel exposes the amount of pride that is within him and by demonstrating his pride he proves that he is an honorable man through his actions, a man with respect and integrity. A man needs to have honor and pride to survive in a world that is only fit for the fittest. Without honor and pride, what’s a man to do when he is ridiculed, humiliated, or violated? A man should be able to protect himself and be strong to be able to progress through his journey in life.
Barrio sets this up by using his own style of writing. Although Manuel resisted against Morales, a Mexican general, he knows that he will pay for his defiance, “he would have to pay for this, for his defiance, somehow, again later” (41). By using the word defiance, a person who resist against authority, Manuel is able to overcome Morales. Although he might have to pay for his defiance, it seemed as if it did not matter to Manuel because by being defiant, “he had salvaged his money savagely and he had earned respect from his fellow slaves” (41). Manuel is able to stand up for himself and was able to resist against a superior although he knew that some consequences might occur at a later time. Even though Manuel knows this, he is able to demonstrate a little pride and honor to his people, for if he did not, Manuel’s fate would have been a tragic one.
In addition to Morales being a superior, the author brings up the gringo hijos de la chingada, a superior to Morales. Barrio introduces them again, the gueros, people who did not care for Manuel and his fellow Mexican slaves. The gueros hired Morales and by hiring him, Morales gathers his fellow Mexicans to do manual labor; slave work, for the superior than the superior, who did not care. Even though Manuel acts defiant against an authority, it is quoted that “they would never know of this little incident,” they as in the gueros, because they do not care (41). Honor and pride has to do a lot with this passage because it was for his children, for the bread, pan y tortillas, that Manuel became defiant. If Manuel had not been defiant, he knows that his children will not get enough food to eat, even if he was scared, he man up and stood with pride and honor to resist for his family and people suffering the same welfare.
Furthermore, Raymond Barrio adds “Manuel wrenched Morales’ greedy fingers away and removed a fat slug of a purse from his sticky grasp” (41). By adding this sentence, Barrio makes it seem as if they were in a real struggle or fight. A man has to fight for what he believes in to show some honor and pride as well as gain respect. Although the struggle seems to be exaggerated, it would seem to be alright because he is able to stand up for himself and succeed. Sometimes though, men do things without thinking in order to achieve what he aims for, “and in his slow way, in his stupid, accidental, dangerous way” (41). Men are reckless at most times but it is not always for the worst, by being reckless, sometimes better goals can be achieved. If a man can achieve his goal, he can be prideful and if that goal was for the better, he is honorable. This is how the author explains, “a man counts for something” (41).
In conclusion, Raymond Barrio explains how a man suffers. Also how when a man falls, he is able to pick himself up and quickly recover. He then explains how a man sometimes has to resist against an opposing force to achieve his goals. To overcome obstacles a man needs pride, honor and respect. Without any of these, a man cannot call himself a man. If a man does not stand up for him or others and let things stay the way they are for the worst, the honor is lost. Manuel is a man who stood for what he believes with great pride and honor and in doing so; he gains the respect of his people.