By, Francisco Jimenez

The Circuit Setting

This story takes place in many different locations. To provide a quick insight to where the story begins and ends I will say just that. The beginning of this book takes place in El Rancho Blanco, Mexico. For example, " La frontera is a word I often heard when I was a child living in El Rancho Blanco, a small village nestled on barren dry hills several miles north of Guadalajara, Mexico" (1). This quote explains what their old hometown was like. As the story progresses we learn that to escape poverty Francisco and his family illegally cross the border into California. Here they seek any work they can find. The closing setting of this book is in Santa Maria. For example, " The ranch became our temporary home. We lived there in barracks eight months out of the year, from January through August, ever since Tent City, the farm labor camp, had been torn down" (117). This setting is where the last portion of the book takes place. Back in what appears to be their safe haven. Francisco and his family love it in Santa Maria.

Characterization of Fancisco

Francisco is a young Mexican who's family illegally crossed the border to California in search of work and escape from poverty. Francisco loves school, and enjoys learning. He is a smart boy. " I continued adding new words and definitions to my note pad. I also wrote other thing I needed to learn for school and thins I wanted to know by heart, like spelling words, and math grammar rules. I carried the note pad in my shirt pocket and, while I worked in the fields, memorized the information I had written in it. I took my librito wherever I went" (103). This quote explains Francisco's love of learning. He carries around his notebook to memorize new concepts not only for school purposes, but for himself.

Francisco's conflicts in this book are internal and external. Francisco's internal conflict is throughout a good portion of the book. This conflict is his schooling. This is a conflict because at first, Francisco knew close to no English at all, and all of his teacher taught in English. For example, "By then end of the day, I was very tired of hearing Miss Scalapino talk because the sounds made no sense to me. I thought that perhaps by paying close attention, I would begin to understand, but I did not. I only got a headache, and that night, when I went to bed, I heard her voice in my head" (18). This quote shows that Francisco struggles at school. His teacher speaks only in English, so Francisco, a speaker of fluent Spanish, is greatly confused in class. Francisco's external conflict is work. Work days are long and physically demanding. For example, " I was completely soaked in sweat and my mouth felt as if I had been chewing on a handkerchief" (78). To add on, " I felt sick to my stomach. I dropped to my knees and let the jug roll off my hands. I remained motionless with my eyes glued on the hot, sandy dirt" ( 78). These excerpts create a vivid image of the conflict Francisco has to endure while working. Furthermore, " Instantly, I felt fire as the salt stung the scratches on my skin. Then as the liquid quickly cooled, my hands felt like ice. I could not go on" (72). This quote provides more details to just how painful and hard this work was for Francisco. He experienced this while trying t prove himself, by picking cotton. Throughout this book, Francisco experiences both internal, and external conflicts.

Main Theme

The theme of The Circuit is to have faith. Francisco and his family pray throughout this book, in hope to relieve them of tough situations. They also know how to handle these tough times. For example, " That night, and every night for an entire year, we all prayed to el Santo Nino de Atocha as we followed the crops from place to place. During that time, Mama dressed Torito in the blue cloak and only took it off when it needed to be washed" (43). This quote gives an example of how Francisco and his family keep their faith. Young Torito was so sick that chances of survival were slim. Yet the entire family pulled through with their promise to pray every daye for a year, a little Torito returned to health.

The Circuit Book Review

The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez is a story about a young migrant boys life. I enjoyed reading this book very much. Jimenez carried the story along well when passing through the years of Francisco's life. It did not leave any questions, it went into the next year at appropriate times. Though at the end, I did not like the cliff hanger. I definitely want to know what happens to Francisco and his family when the border police retrieve the boys. Overall, The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez was a great book with excellent imagery and did a great job portraying real life situations in that time. I recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting, quick read.