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Under the Shade of a Pecan Tree by Pilar…

Under the Shade of a Pecan Tree

by Pilar Castaneda

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A fictional novella by West Sacramento writer, Pilar Castaneda's 'Under The Shade of a Pecan Tree' is set in the later years of the Great Depression in San Antonio, Texas, and it centers on a young man named Ecleto, who moved to San Antonio in order to be independent of his family. Ecleto notices that all of the inhabitants of the city are destitute, which leads him to assist a priest in a mission to help the poor.

Through the eyes of Ecleto, a young Latino teen, readers are exposed to the frinking poverty brought on by an unjust labor policy and a prejudiced San Antonio political system that viewed Mexican-Americans as little more than slave labor. While the Catholic church and the national press sougnt to improve their lives, political and business interests conspired to use the nation's fear of communist subversion to keep Hispanics from gaining any political power through the formation of labor unions. To his credit Castaneda's Ecleto refused to let these powerful forces break his will.

When great novelist Graham Greene comes to town to write on the situation and inform others on the opression of the weak as an outsider, he is not able to stop two teenagers from being arrested in front of him.

Blending the lives of actual historical figures with fictional characters, Castaneda paints a vivid portrait of the hardship faced by Mexican-Americans working in the pecan industry there during the lean years of the depression.
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