Everything you need to understand or teach Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez.
A backdrop of a giant newspaper headlines announces an invasion of "zoot-suiters," or pachucos, young Mexican-American men who wear slicked-down hair and suits with long, exaggerated coattails; armed forces are called in to handle the problem.
A switchblade rips through the newspaper to reveal El Pachuco, the epitome of a zoot-suiter, assuming the usual posture of defiant coolness. He begins speaking in Spanish, then switches to perfect English. In a cocky beat, he describes the Pachuco style. He exits, swinging a long watch chain.
Act I, scene I
The scene is a dance floor in the barrio, or Spanish-speaking neighborhood, in the 1940s. Couples from the 38th Street Gang dance, led by Henry Reyna with his girlfriend, Della Barrios. A few Anglo sailors dance nearby, as El Pachuco sings. The rival Downey gang enters and the dance turns violent when the rival gang leader, Rafas, shoves Henry's brother Rudy.
Act I, scene ii
The dance/brawl... View more of the Zoot Suit Summary
Zoot Suit Lesson Plans contain 118 pages of teaching material, including: