“[Gary Soto’s] power comes from showing, from painting pictures that allow the reader to feel the wonder promise, and pain of everyday life” (Fabiano185). Gary Soto’s writing goes right to the center of the Chicano experience (Dunn 284). In “The Grandfather”, Gary Soto presents the feeling of what everyday life would be like when living in a Hispanic community. Soto is able to do this with a naturalistic writing style, writing in a simple style, and using his real life experiences as a basis.
Naturalism is a writing style in which the writer takes a slice of life and makes it last forever. In “The Grandfather” Soto uses a naturalistic style of writing. In his writing Soto contemplates over everyday life such as marriage, parenthood, friendship, or making a living (Fields 284). In “The Grandfather”, Grandfather had “s settles in Fresno and works thirty years at Sun Maid Raisin” to make a living (Soto 6). Soto writes about everyday events and he does not try to butter anything up.
The critic Geoffrey Dunn states that Gary Soto recalls dad to day traumas, tragedies, and triumphs (283). This can be seen when Soto writes about how Grandfather waits his whole life for his favorite tree to give it’s fruit, and after twenty long years, it does (Soto 9). The tree finally giving fruit is Grandfather’s triumph. Soto’s naturalistic writing style is one of the elements that makes his stories so inciting. Soto also writes in a very simple style. Jerry Bradley says that Soto’s simplicity is a “stylistic device” (401).
His simplicity in writing is appropriate to the primitive subjects he writes about (Bradley 401). In “The Grandfather”, Soto uses simple vocabulary. This can be seen in the vocabulary that grandfather uses when scolding the children. Grandfather says, “Hijo (Son), what’s the matta with you? You gonna break it. ” (Soto 7). The simple vocabulary that Soto uses for Grandfather’s dialogue is typical to that of many immigrants in the 1980’s. By using this simple vocabulary Soto is able to express a bit of the Chicano culture.
Soto’s works are not unintellectual, just simple, like the events he writes about. Grandfather’s growing tree is not a major event in history, but with his simple style of writing, Soto better describes the Mexican culture. Soto uses his life experiences to help him write his short stories. Soto takes his culture and puts it into words. “The Grandfather” includes autobiographical information about Soto’s life. Soto really did grow up in Fresno, California, and his grandfather actually did work at Sun Maid Raisins.
Because most of the event he writes about really happened, it makes his writing more realistic. Soto writes about small but telling moments in his life (Fields 284). To some a tree may not mean much, but in the Mexican culture family is very important and since the avocado tree was Grandfather’s favorite tree it would be important to the rest of the family. Soto probably associates they avocado tree with his loved grandfather, which is why he probably decided to write about it. In his writing Soto describes the life of poor Mexican Americans on both sides off the border (Kessler 401).
This can be seen when Soto writes about how Grandfather would try to save ever last cent by planting his own fruit tress, and by going to the market and haggle for lower prices (Soto 7-9). Soto grew up in a poor family, and in his stories he tells us about his experience of having to grow up in a working class family (Fabiano 185). Soto explains how everyone in the family, and even neighbors, helped each other out but trading the fruit that they each grew on their trees (Soto 7-8).
Because Soto uses his own life experiences, he is able to better describe the life of a Chicano. His works sound very realistic because of this. Gary Soto can successfully present the feeling of what everyday life would be like when living in a Hispanic community by using a naturalistic writing style, writing in a simple style, and using his real life experiences as a basis. The short story “The Grandfather” includes all of these elements which makes it a great story to read and experience the Mexican culture.