The use of Dramatic Detail of The Hammon and the Beans
Americo Paredes’ The Hammon and the Beans is a story told through the eyes of a child about the struggles Mexican-American children faced after the Mexican Revolution. The story is focused around one particular girl, Chonita, who despite her struggles with poverty, has a seemingly good attitude and all of the children in the community admire her.
The story takes place in the mid 1920’s in Jonesville-on-the-Grande, a small border town in south Texas. Years ago there were some border troubles; therefore the army had come back to old Fort Jones. The fort was surrounded by a wire fence separating the soldiers from the outside community.
The narrator is a young boy who describes Jonesville-on-the-Grande as a peaceful and quiet place. He tells how his mother hates his grandfather’s house, the house in which they live. She hates it mainly because of the dirty pigeons and
their cooing noises. The narrator portrays life in Jonesville-on-the-Grande to be routine and perhaps somewhat boring.
Paredes introduces Chonita to the story as a young girl stricken with poverty who symbolizes Mexican-American children and their struggles. The reader can easily visualize Chonita as being poor and deprived as the narrator describes her as “dirty and scrawny” (page 488). The narrator is a friend of Chonita’s. He, along with all of the children in Jonesville-on-the-Grande goes to the fence at Fort Jones and listens to Chonita’s speeches daily. Her speech was simple, “Give me the hammon and the beans” (page 489). The narrator illustrates Chonita to be brave given that she is the only one that ever steps foot into Fort Jones. Each day she sneaks into the “lower” gate to the Fort; this is the gate the narrator describes opens to the “poorest part of town” (page 488). Chonita’s reason for going into the fort is simple; after the soldiers eat, Chonita is given the leftovers by the cooks. So the speech Chonita...