The Boat - "Cartegena" Summary & Analysis

Nam Le
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Summary

Le's second story follows the first-person narrative of fourteen-year-old Juan Pablo Menendez, a hit man living in the slums of Colombia. In the beginning of the story, Juan and his friends Luis, Claudia, Pedro, and Eduardo are discussing the seaside town of Cartegena, which Luis describes as a kind of paradise. The friends walk to a nearby neighborhood, or tiguario, “the city of cardboard” (32), and there, they beat up a man and nearly kill him. Juan does not seem fazed by this and describes how Luis handled the man, “like a gangster in an American movie” (35). He observes his friends’ “readiness to kill” (36) despite knowing that none of them ever have.

Afterward, Juan returns to the house where he and his mother live. He narrates the events of his life that led him to becoming an assassin, four months ago. In exchange for his...

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This section contains 1,316 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Boat Study Guide
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