Character in Soto's a Summer Life

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The protagonist is none other than Gary Soto himself. In the first section of his early childhood, Soto portrayed most of the essays through the eyes of innocent, curious, hyperactive five-year-old Soto, and then progresses throughout the book to the last section as a maturing, knowledgeable, young Soto. With his Mexican heritage came his Catholic religious values. In addition to his religious beliefs, having a very superstitious mother implying that he could be anywhere and that he could be anything, somewhat urged Soto to be superstitious as well. In the beginning of an essay, the “innocent Soto” begins with the statement, “I knew enough about hell to stop me from stealing. I was holy in almost every bone.” The quote acknowledges that Soto is aware that stealing was bad, and then implies that he wouldn’t do such a thing because of his purity. Towards the end of the essay, in contrast, the “menacing Soto” states, “I knew sin was what you took and didn’t give back.” This quote reflects Soto’s greed because saying “I knew” reveals his prior knowledge that his actions were sinful, but did it anyway. Confusion and uncertainty felt by the torn Soto would be the same as any other child his age, a phase that all children experience as they try to find balance in their morals and values. A character worth noting in the book is his grandfather. Like many immigrants that immigrated to the USA from Mexico, his grandfather worked hard and earned little money. His grandfather was a thirty-year employee of Sun Maid Raisin that started out many years as the company’s packer before obtaining the watchman position. The fruit he grew in his backyard helped feed him, allowing him to save more of his hard earned money. In this personal essay, readers learn that Soto’s grandfather was hardworking, patient and positive. His significance in the book was just being a

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