Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
Spring comes and it seems as though the same sap the stirs in the trees begins "to churn through Antonio's brothers." He understands now why the blood of spring is called "bad blood." It raises wild urges and reveals hidden desires. Antonio's brothers have spent the winter sleeping during the day and in town during the nights. Antonio hears about his brothers spending money at the Eight Ball Pool Hall. "They are like lost men who went and came and said nothing." The family recognizes they have war-sickness. León sometimes howls at night and cries like an animal. Then he begins to have long talks with Ultima and she gives him a remedy. His eyes remain sad, but he also has hope for the future. The three brothers run out of their army money and they sign notes in town. Gabriel's dream slowly dies.
One afternoon, Antonio hears them talking. They talk about leaving. They complain about the smallness of Guadalupe. Andrew jokes that it is the Márez blood that is making them restless. They say they will never go with Gabriel to California. Gene suggests getting together to move to Las Vegas, Santa Fe, or Albuquerque. He wants to save money, buy a car, and get women. He names Denver and San Francisco also. His brothers become excited too. They all talk about the three goals they want to acquire: "money, booze, women."
Andrew finally asks about their parents' dreams. Antonio knows they have lived their lives haunted by those dreams just as he has. Gene tells him they cannot live their lives according to their parents' dreams. They say the parents still have Tony to be María's priest and farmer. They jump and shout with joy. They play around and call out to Tony to bless them. He is afraid of them and finally shouts out that he will bless them. He makes the sign of the cross just as he had done in his dream. They grab him, pull his pants off, and spank him. Then they toss him onto the roof of the chicken house. They continue playing with each other. Then they say they have to say good-bye to the women at Rosie's and they run off.
Antonio gets down and puts his pants back on. His bottom hurts where they spanked him. He feels empty knowing they will be gone again and lost again. He wants to call after them, "I bless you."
Antonio offers a blessing for the second time here. Though it is not a blessing sanctioned by the Church, it is a blessing from the heart. Antonio knows his brothers will be lost to him forever. Despite their abuse of him, he still feels sad for their pain which is covered over momentarily in a celebration of freedom.
Eugene, León, and Andrew are lost and rootless. They have vague goals for going to cities they have only heard about. They imagine making money, but they think of nothing else to spend it on than brief pleasures designed to help them forget. They think of women on a par with liquor and cars as one in a list of acquisitions they can get with money.