Baseball in April and Other Stories Characters

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Baseball in April and Other Stories Summary & Study Guide Description

Baseball in April and Other Stories Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Baseball in April and Other Stories by Gary Soto.

Alfonso appears in Broken Chain

Alfonso is the protagonist of Broken Chain. He is described as a typical Hispanic boy of about thirteen years of age. He lives with his parents and older brother in a house in an urban area. Alfonso does daily sit-ups to develop his abdominal muscles and cuts his hair in a style adopted from a popular magazine. He wishes his teeth were straight, all so he can hopefully attract the attention of a girl. Since his mother tells him braces are too expensive, Alfonso spends about an hour each night using his thumbs to put pressure on his teeth in an unsuccessful attempt to straighten them out a little bit. Alfonso's father is apparently much dedicated to a local baseball team and his mood rises and falls with the fortunes of the team. His mother appears typical in most respects, where she is supportive and realistic. Alfonso's older brother Ernie is looking for a girlfriend and has been disappointed recently. Alfonso spends his days wondering how to get the attention of a girl and then meets Sandra and helps her little brother. Alfonso and Sandra quickly learn they are in the same grade and school. They decide to go on a bike ride together. Alfonso attempts to prepare for the bike ride but accidentally breaks his bike's chain. He cannot convince a jealous Ernie to loan out his bike. Uncharacteristically mature, Alfonso faces the situation with honesty. He plans to tell Sandra the horrible truth that they cannot go bike-riding because he does not have a functional bike. Fortunately, Ernie comes through in the nick of time and Alfonso uses Ernie's bike to woo Sandra.

Jesse and Michael appears in Baseball in April

Jesse and Michael are brothers, nine and eleven years old, respectively, who live in a typical Hispanic family in an urban area. They are quite excited about the upcoming baseball season and practice their skills with each other. Older Michael teaches Jesse the basics of throwing, catching, and batting. When the day arrives, they go to Little League tryouts and perform for the assembled coaches. In his his first time at tryouts, Jesse is nervous and performs poorly. Michael seems to perform well at catching and batting. They return home and wait for the telephone to ring but it does not. Instead, they end up joining an informal neighborhood recreational league that is comprised of only two teams. Their team Hobo Park plays the Red Caps five times and loses all five games. About half-way through the season, Michael loses interest and spends his time going crazy over a girl that likes him. Jesse stays on the team however and makes friends with another boy. Jesse plays catcher but is not good at batting. During the first game, he lets a wild pitch strike him so that, hit by pitch, he can advance and get on base. This is his only time on base during the game. He does not score but is exhilarated at the chance to base run. When the season ends Jesse worries that someone on the team might mistakenly show up for practice and find themselves all alone.

Luis appears in Two Dreamers

Luis is born in Jalapa, Mexico and emigrates to the United States in his late twenties, presumably circa 1958. He appears to be about sixty-years-old during the story. He works as a night watchman for a food manufacturing facility in Fresno. He lives on a quiet and shady street. Luis is married, has five adult children, and at least twenty-one grandchildren. Luis' favorite grandson is Hector. Hector lives with his parents during the school year but spends his summer months living with his grandfather Luis. Luis has a son-in-law who has made substantial money in dealing real estate, probably as an amateur investor. Luis is also worried about his impending retirement and wants to bolster his retirement nest egg as possible. During the narrative, Luis decides to see if he can take up real estate as an avenue to making money. However, Luis' schemes apparently rarely move beyond the theoretical stage. Luis' wife is realistic and practical and the two often bicker. Luis is presented as hard-working and family-oriented. He is bilingual but reticent to use English with strangers. Luis is also hesitant to use newfangled technology such as the telephone. Luis and Hector are the two dreamers mentioned in the story's title.

Veronica Solisappears in Barbie

Veronica Solis lives with her little sister Yolanda and their parents in a typical Hispanic family within a traditional neighborhood. The area receives little detail but appears to be suburban in character. Veronica has several uncles. Her uncle Rudy is wealthy and gives her gifts. During the story, Rudy announces his engagement to Donna, causing Veronica's mother to become a little flustered, suggesting that Rudy is a maternal uncle. Like many young girls, Veronica is probably eight to ten years of age, Veronica is captivated by Barbie dolls and wishes to have one of her own. One Christmas, Rudy gives her a doll that is like a Barbie, but Veronica finds the doll ugly and unappealing. When they come to visit, Donna and Rudy give Veronica a real Barbie doll with several changes of clothing. Veronica's dreams of having a genuine Barbie appear to have come true. Veronica then goes to her friend Martha's house to play with Barbie dolls. On the way home, she accidentally loses her new Barbie's head. Although she searches for hours, Veronica never locates the missing head.

Faustoappears in The No-Guitar Blues

Fausto lives with his family in a typical Hispanic neighborhood. His grandfather may also live with his family although this is not definitively established in the narrative. Fausto is energetic, industrious, and conscientious. He attends church with his mother sporadically. After seeing Los Lobos perform on television, Fausto decides that he wants to be a guitar player in a rock and roll band. Although he has seen other bands on television, he has never seen a Hispanic rock and roll band before. Seeing the Hispanic members of Los Lobos ignites a fire within Fausto. He spends several hours trying to earn money to purchase a guitar, knowing that his parents do not have the money for one. Fausto eventually finds a lost dog and returns it to the owner, embellishing the story of finding the dog in the hopes of gaining a big reward. Fausto does receive a twenty-dollar reward for returning the dog. The reward makes Fausto feel guilty however so he donates all of his money to the church in an act of repentance. Later, Fausto's mother remembers there is an old bass guitar in the garage and Fausto doe receive his instrument after all.

Victorappears in Seventh Grade

Victor is the protagonist in Seventh Grade. Victor has spent his summer picking grapes to earn money to buy his school clothes. He appears to be a typical Hispanic student and attends school in Fresno, returning for his first day of the seventh grade. Victor's course schedule has seven classes and eight periods in the day. His classes include homeroom, English, math, social studies, lunch, French, metal shop, and biology. Victor speaks English fluently and has mastered the basics of Spanish. He takes French because the girl he likes, Teresa, is also taking French. Teresa is also in his homeroom class. Victor has a close friend, Michael Torres, who he meets for lunch. Victor likes Teresa but is too shy to directly approach her. Most of the students at the school realize that Victor likes Teresa and she clearly knows of his infatuation for her. During a school day, Victor spends time looking for Teresa, wondering how to impress her, and doing some dumb things to try and get her attention. Victor's antics succeed and after French class, Teresa approaches Victor for assistance in doing French homework. Victor is sure that seventh grade is going to be a lot of fun.

Yollie Morenoappears in Mother and Daughter

Yollie is probably fourteen years old and is a Hispanic girl whose mother emigrated from Mexico prior to Yollie's birth. Yollie's father is not discussed in the story but it is clear he no longer lives with the family. Yollie and her mother share a particularly close relationship and they enjoy spending evenings together eating popcorn and watching scary movies on television. Yollie is a dedicated student and is widely regarded as one of the smartest students at her school. She is particularly gifted in spelling. Yollie is functionally bilingual but prefers English. She is described as slender and quite beautiful, while her mother is regarded as approachable and quite fat. Aside from excelling in school, Yollie's preoccupation is with her friends and Ernie Castillo, a boy with whom she is infatuated. During one school dance, Yollie wears a dress that her mother has dyed black. At the dance Yollie is caught in the rain and the dress's dye runs. Yollie is convinced that everyone will laugh at her dirty grey dress and she runs home. Nobody however notices the dress. Later, Ernie telephones and asks Yollie to go to the movies with him. Yollie convinces her mother to spend some of her future college savings fund on new clothes so she can be confident on her date with Ernie.

Gilbert Sanchezappears in The Karate Kid

Gilbert Sanchez is an eleven-year-old Hispanic boy living in a typical urban neighborhood with his middle-class family. He is in fifth grade and attends elementary school. Gilbert's older cousin, Raymundo, lives in the neighborhood and attends the same elementary school. After watching the movie The Karate Kid, Gilbert and Raymundo convince themselves that they are karate fighters. At school Gilbert takes his new-found confidence to heart and refuses to let an intimidating bully cut in line in front of him. The standoff results in an after-school fight which Gilbert loses badly. After much introspection, Gilbert decides that his failure stems from not having an instructor. He convinces his mother to enroll him in karate lessons and spends six months training at a lackluster studio with a disinterested instructor. After only a few weeks, Gilbert finds the karate training tedious and boring. After a few months, he wants to quit and starts thinking about ways he can get out of future classes. Gilbert is not alone in his opinion. All of the students dislike the class, which suggests a huge failing on the part of the instructor. In any event, the training is ineffective because a few months later, Gilbert once again faces off with the same school bully and badly loses the fight. After six months and only a single rank advancement, Gilbert is ready to injure himself to get out of classes. To his great joy, the instructor announces that the school is closing due to lack of students. Freed from the tyranny of boring karate training, Gilbert accepts his role as a non-fighting student and stays out of trouble at school.

Manuel appears in La Bamba

Manuel is a young Hispanic boy attending John Burroughs Elementary School, presumably in the higher grades of the school. He is the fourth of seven children in his family and lives with his parents. His father is a pharmacist. The family appears well off and education is obviously valued by Manuel's parents. Manuel has several friends at school and also has a crush on a particular girl whom he believes is the 'second-best' good-looking girl at the school. Manuel believes that the best-looking girl is his friend's love interest. Manuel volunteers to perform in an after-school talent show and plans to lip-sync a pantomime of Ritchie Valens's "La Bamba," in the hopes it will impress his friends and some girls. After volunteering, Manuel begins to rethink his decision. He becomes increasingly nervous and spends a lot of time practicing his bizarre dance moves, stage antics, and lip-syncing. During practice, Manuel drops his 45 RPM record and it rolls across the floor. At the performance, Manuel begins his posturing and then the record, scratched from its roll across the floor, begins to skip repetitively on a given lyric. Manuel does not know how to respond so he sings the line over and over and dances around and around. The audience interprets the entire performance as intentionally comical. Fortunately for Manuel, everybody loves his comic antics and he becomes quite popular at school.

Lupe Medranoappears in The Marble Champ

Lupe Medrano is an eleven-year-old Hispanic girl living in suburban Fresno with her family. Lupe's family consists of her parents and an older brother. upe wins the school's spelling bee and the reading contest at the public library. She receives a blue ribbon at the science fair, is the best student at her piano recital, and is widely known as a chess champion. A straight-A student, Lupe excels at everything academic. However, she cannot play any sports and she wants to distinguish herself at sports. Lupe decides that shooting marbles is a sport and sets about to win the neighborhood marble-shooting competition held in a few weeks. Lupe borrows her brothers' marbles, and spends many hours practicing shooting marbles. She spends many hours doing arm, hand, and particularly thumb exercises. Within a few days, she is shooting straight. Within a few weeks, she is shooting hard. She first beats her big brother and then she beats Alfonso, a neighbor who is regarded as good at marbles. Lupe continues to practice and exercise right up until the competition. Her mother and father, excited at the prospects of their daughter excelling at something physical, fully support her goal. At the competition, Lupe has a shaky first game but wins, moving up through the brackets. Each girl she defeats in invited to join her group and she soon has a group of cheerleaders. Lupe makes the final completion and defeats another girl to take home the championship. As the girls' champion, she then plays against the boys' champion and beats him too. Lupe is the hero of the hour, the darling of her family. She also demonstrates that a pretty and smart girl also can excel in physical pursuits.

Mariaappears in Growing up

Maria, a Hispanic girl, is in tenth grade and lives in Fresno with her family. Her family consists of her mom, dad Rafael, sister Irma, and brothers Rudy and John. Maria is the oldest child. Maria's father, a foreman at a paper mill, emigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico, and grew up in abject poverty. Maria has an uncle Shorty, who was in a bad automobile accident and is a paraplegic with scars from burns. Maria's grandmother is named Lupe. Maria remembers taking a family vacation that involves one day at Disneyland. The whole vacation is boring and although Maria had fun on the rides at Disneyland, she feels poorly dressed and, next to the other girls there, exceptionally poor. Thus when Maria's father announces another family vacation, Maria declines to go. Instead, she stays home alone for four days, spending the evenings and nights at her godmother's house. During her family's absence, Maria grows increasingly anxious and becomes convinced that her absence has angered her father so much that he will drive recklessly. She fears that he will crash the car, resulting in serious harm to the family. In fact, no crash occurs and the family returns home safely, having enjoyed a splendid time on vacation. Maria then becomes morose and frustrated, feeling like she has missed out on a great family adventure. She is introspective and insightful enough however, to realize that her experience is simply a sign of growing up and gaining maturity. When the family goes out to dinner and Maria reads her fortune cookie, she finds she agrees that she is "'mature and sensible.'"

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