Information for Historians, Researchers, Nostalgia Buffs, & Observer Fans Bound Volumes: The 1983 bound issues of The Texas Observer are now ready. In maroon, washable binding, the price is $20. Also available at $20 each are volumes for the years 1963 through 1982. Cumulative Index: The clothbound cumulative edition of The Texas Observer Index covering the years 1954-1970 may be obtained for $20. The newly published 1971-1981 index Back Issues: Issues dated January 10, 1963, to the present are available at $1 each. Earlier issues are out of stock, but photocopies of articles from issues dated December 13, 1954 through December 27, 1962 will be provided at $1 per article. Microfilm: The complete backfile dividual years may be ordered separately. To order, or to obtain additional information regarding the 35mm microfilm editions, please write to Univ. Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. to the Observer Business Office. Texas residents please add the 5% sales tax to your remittance. Materials will be sent postpaid. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W. 7th ST. AUSTIN 78701 \(512ists. Put a Democrat in the White House and first thing you know the farmers start dressin’ like Republicans.” Later, in a flashback to a speech in which the “Guvnah” attacked “Yankee” economic tyranny in the South: “If there is a single immutable law of economy in the South, it is that money rises.” Still later the graceless “Guvnah” declares to his chauffeur: “Ah, Fleetwood. A good deed never goes Austin WE WAITED together in the darkness of Del Rio. The nine of us each had our own purpose for being at the bus station at 2:30 a.m. I was coming home from a week of canoeing Big Bend’s lower canyons. Seven of the others who stood with me in the shadows of the Trailways depot were unlawfully looking for a new home in the United States, and the eighth was their coyote. The seven seemed to be related. Their language made it clear that they were not from northern Mexico. The coyote said they were on the way to Ft. Worth, but he told the bus driver Houston. Somewhere out of Del Rio \(it seemed searched the bus. With remarkable agent unceremoniously pulled the eight from the bus, loudly cussing out the coyote in various declensions of chingar. As I watched them through the window, all standing there alongside the road in the hazy darkness, El Norte flashed before me in a way that translated the power of the movie into the despair and courage of those who try to find refuge in our country. El Norte tells the story of two teenage Guatemalans, a brother and sister, who flee to the United States after govern James C. Harrington is the legal director for the Texas Civil Liberties Union. unpunished that’s the moral of my life.” In addition to its one-liners, which pile up thick and snappy, there are real surprises in “Cracker Jack,” twists of story and resolution that call to mind the cunning of 0. Henry. These are ingredients of winning comedy, and “Cracker Jack” despite its hazards of cliche and stereotype should prove to be exactly that. ment soldiers kill their father, a farm worker trying to organize with others for better pay and working conditions, and after their mother disappears. Rosa and Enrique travel through Mexico by bus and foot toward “El Norte,” the America which will give them peace and prosperity. They finally cross into the United States by crawling through an abandoned drainage pipe, surviving a horrifying attack by rats \(which eventually leads to Rosa’s The journey from the lush green paradise of their Guatemalan village to the stunning panorama of glittering night-time Los Angeles is laced with clever humor and quiet suffering. In El Norte itself, Enrique works as a low-paid waiter in an elegant restaurant and Rosa as a maid in a swimmingpool-equipped house. They live simply and happily in a cheap motel \(perhaps family values and ties against the pulling and tearing of Yankee enterprise. In the end, the poetry becomes tragedy. Enrique loses his job to an envious Mexican American fellow employee, who reports him to the migra who raid the restaurant. Rosa becomes critically ill; and Enrique, desperate for work, suddenly has to choose between a good job in Chicago and his sister’s deathbed. The movie’s final scene provides a symbolic summary. It shows Enrique doing day construction on a house. He gazes back into the gentle past, to his pristine Indian town in the tropics, only Film Review The View from El Norte By James C. Harrington 20 APRIL 6, 1984
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