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The Last of the Menu Girls Study Guide & Plot Summary

Denise Chavez
This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Last of the Menu Girls.
This section contains 394 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Last of the Menu Girls Study Guide

The Last of the Menu Girls Summary & Study Guide Description

The Last of the Menu Girls 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 The Last of the Menu Girls by Denise Chavez.

Plot Summary

In a semi-autobiographical series of short vignettes, author Denise Chavez captures the life of a typical Hispanic-American teen, searching, as are all adolescents, for purpose, self-identity, and adulthood. Rocio Esquibel is an ordinary girl, living on an ordinary street, in an ordinary town in southern New Mexico. She has, however, extraordinary dreams, both literally and figuratively. Her dreams of the "blue room," from which she can fly into the universe, capture her desire to become something other than her mother, a school teacher whose husband has left the family and who does not find much joy and enthusiasm in life. Each short story allows the reader to follow Rocio from early adolescence into adulthood, her relationships with her mother, sister, absent father, others in her neighborhood, and a number of interesting personalities as she pursues her college degree. She observes her world of other Hispanic teen girls, attempting at times to emulate them, but finding herself disappointed and uncomfortable in their worlds. She experiences solid growth through a position as a "menu girl" at a local hospital, experiencing the emotional pain of others, and then continues onto college as a drama major, where she is involved in an unfulfilled love relationship with a graduate student, becomes an assistant teacher in the department's drama program for young children, and experiences the successes and failures that most college students do as they attempt to live on their own. At one point, a mysterious illness, perhaps psychosomatic, renders her almost dysfunctional and requires a two-week leave from classes in order to heal. Returning home after college graduation, Rocio discovers that life with her mother and sister will cause stagnation, and, ultimately, that she must move away from her childhood home to northern New Mexico in order to pursue her self-identified vocation as a writer. While it is not revealed to the reader whether Rocio experiences ultimate success in her profession, one cannot help but understand that she has found herself, that she has become the woman she wishes to have become, and that she has a contentment that all people find when they love what they do. Against the backdrop of the rich cultural traditions and values of Hispanic-Americans, author Chavez has painted a beautiful portrait of the southwestern Hispanic life and culture and the universal struggles faced by all who pass through adolescence into adulthood.

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This section contains 394 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Last of the Menu Girls Study Guide
Copyrights
The Last of the Menu Girls from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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