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The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a…

The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (edition 1997)

by Francisco Jiménez

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633None15,283 (4.06)3
Title:The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child
Authors:Francisco Jiménez
Info:University of New Mexico Press (1997), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 134 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez




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I liked this book for a few different reasons. One reason being that this book incorporates the native Spanish language to remind that reader that the characters in the book are of the Spanish decent and not American, such as when the author writes, “tienen que tener cuidado.” By including Spanish into the book it helps to portray the difficult in communication the main character experienced during his first few years in America. I also like the book, because the author incorporated great symbolism. A big overlapping theme of symbolism was the reoccurrence of rain, which symbolized the hardships and struggles the family continually faced throughout the novel. The overall message of this book was that sometimes everything is not what it seems, because before the family got to America they thought it was full of opportunities to make money, but when they actually got their they faced nothing but hardships. ( )
  CassandraQuigley | Mar 10, 2014 |
I liked this book for its relevance with today’s immigration concerns. The main idea of the book is to illustrate the life of immigrants growing up in the agricultural labor camps of California. It highlighted the daily struggle to survive and the constant fear of deportation. It also illustrated the disjointed bits of education these children receive, also very relevant today. I liked the book for its detailed descriptions of an immigrant’s life, such as an entire family sleeping on one mattress laid on the floor. I would have liked to see the Spanish words with their English translations beside them instead of just the Spanish words. The book was easy reading with short chapters and interesting details, consistent with early elementary school. ( )
  Madams21 | Mar 8, 2014 |
I really disliked this book. The first reason I disliked this book is for its negative stories that surrounds its episodic plot. For example, for a good portion of the beginning of the story, the baby brother of the main character was deathly ill and the reader is left reading wondering if the baby was going to die or not. Although this made reading go by fast, I would rather the plot catch my interest for a more positive event rather than hanging on the edge wondering about a child’s death. Another reason I disliked this book was for its ending. After becoming heavily invested in the main character and his family, the book set up for a wonderful ending in which the family reaches every goal they set out to meet. When the family decided to come to America, it was in pursuit of the American dream, and when the main character’s brother acquired the first full-time job the family had seen and the family was stable in their surroundings for the first time in America, it was all ripped away from them in the last paragraph of the book. Although the plot left much to be desired, the unity of the book was phenomenal, most notable was the ideal of achieving the American dream. When the family had reached a stable environment, they erected a white fence in front of their house around some flowers, which followed the aspect of the American dream of owning your own house and having a white picket fence around it. Also, the main character of the book was given an assignment to memorize the preamble of the Declaration of Independence and did so successfully, symbolizing he had achieved the rights of an American. However, all this was lost in the last paragraph of the story. The big idea of this book was to chronicle the lives of an immigrant family to detail the potential hardships English learners in a classroom may be going through. The insight an autobiography can give about how a student in the situation feels is invaluable to a teacher who is tasked with teaching that student. ( )
  mspisa1 | Mar 4, 2014 |
The Circuit is a perfect example of a story that demonstrated that issues with immigration and the hard times that immigrants had to face. The plot of the story has mixture of conflict, suspense, anticipation, and hope. The author helped keep the reader entertained throughout the book. For example, the chapters jumped time periods from camp to camp and showed the different struggles the family faced. For example, one of the main struggles throughout the book were the living conditions. Many times the family had to live in a tent under one small mattress and eat on cardboard boxes. Another reason I liked this book is because it demonstrates the difficulty that Panchito had with the language barrier in school. For example, for many years he didn't pay attention in school because he could not understand the teacher and no one took the time to explain it to him. The story takes you on a journey of this families life and the reader gets drawn in and feels like they can experience the story with the family. ( )
  mooste2 | Feb 24, 2014 |
The Circuit
By Francisco Jimenez (1997)

I liked The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez for two reasons. First, I liked how Jimenez touched on the difficulties that English language learners face. Panchito, the young narrator of the story attends several English-speaking schools in California. Yet, Panchito is an immigrant from Mexico, and his primary language is Spanish. One day, Panchito’s teacher asked him to read aloud a passage from an English book, but sadly, he could not because he did not speak English. Fortunately, as Panchito got older, his English improved, but still, he was not fluent. Second, I liked how Panchito created his own, personal journal. Specifically, in a note pad, he wrote English words and their definitions. In addition, he wrote things he needed to learn for school, and things he wanted to know by heart. He carried the note pad everywhere, and eventually memorized it. Thus, readers can see Panchito’s desire to learn the English language. Unfortunately, I did not like how Jimenez chose to end the novel. As a reader, I thought it was sad that an immigration officer found Panchito. Thus, I assumed him and his family were deported back to Mexico. Overall, the “big idea” of The Circuit is to emphasize the struggles immigrants face when they come to the United States. Although immigrants view the United States as a place of opportunity and success, they are faced with various challenges when they move. For example, it is difficult for immigrants like Panchito and his family to find stable living quarters and work. Therefore, Francisco Jimenez is successful at portraying the realities of immigration through his descriptive story. ( )
  Mdierd1 | Feb 24, 2014 |
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To my parents and my seven sisters and brothers:


Evangelina/ Yerman;

Maria Luisa/Licha;


Jose Francisco/Trampita;

Juan Manuel/Torito;

and Ruben/Carne Seca
First words
We left the station. Papa carried our dark brown suitcase. We followed behind him until we reached a barbed wire fence. According to Papa, this was la frontera. He pointed out that across the gray wire barricade was California, that famous place I'd heard so much about. On both sides of the fence were armed guards dressed in green uniforms. Papa called them la migra, and explained that we had to cross the fence to the other side without being seen by them.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0826317979, Paperback)

After dark in a Mexican border town, a father holds open a hole in a wire fence as his wife and two small boys crawl through.

So begins life in the United States for many people every day. And so begins this collection of twelve autobiographical stories by Santa Clara University professor Francisco Jim�nez, who at the age of four illegally crossed the border with his family in 1947.

"The Circuit," the story of young Panchito and his trumpet, is one of the most widely anthologized stories in Chicano literature. At long last, Jim�nez offers more about the wise, sensitive little boy who has grown into a role model for subsequent generations of immigrants.

These independent but intertwined stories follow the family through their circuit, from picking cotton and strawberries to topping carrots--and back agai--over a number of years. As it moves from one labor camp to the next, the little family of four grows into ten. Impermanence and poverty define their lives. But with faith, hope, and back-breaking work, the family endures.

"A jewel of a book"--Rolando Hinojosa-Smith

"These stories are so realistic they choke the heart."--Rudolfo Anaya

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:39 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

[In this novel], intertwined stories follow a migrant family through their circuit, from picking cotton and strawberries to topping carrots - and back again - over a number of years. As it moves from one labor camp to the next, the little family off four grows into ten. Impermanence and poverty define their lives. But with faith, hope, and back-breaking work, the family endues. -Back cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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