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"Outside my door, I could hear him pacing. "Apa, the man, was there pacing back and forth like a lion might do to keep his cub safe from all danger. I so wanted to be like him." (pg. 181) Rey is the main character as well as the narrator of The Jumping Tree by analyzing Rey we become aware that he is desperately seeking to define a manhood style that can make him feel emotionally strong, intelligent, noble, but yet stand up for what he believes. In this motif analysis we can clearly describe how the three following motifs affect the dramatic experiences of our main character Rey and how the emotional atmosphere (tone) in the story is also affected.
In chapter two we notice how Rey observes the food table, how it has been divided into two sections. On one side of the table there are the soft drinks and food, while on the other side there are alcoholic beverages and that's where the men of the family are standing and drinking. "Rey, come and sit over here with the men."(14) The reader can sense that Tio Santos manhood has to deal with drinking liquor that is strong and only a strong man is capable of handling. Tio Santos also starts to question Apa's manhood since Apa refused to take a drink of Vodka. The emotional atmosphere in this chapter starts to build up when Tio Santos insults Apa and Apa just shakes his head and does not respond.
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"Let's just do this, Rey," Lety said. "I know you're the big eleven-year-old man and think you're just too cool for this, but let's dance this one song, and then you can go back to acting tough with you hands in your pockets and trying to look a cool-like" (pg. 33) Once again the idea of being a man comes up and Rey's attitude seems to affect the atmosphere of the story because there is no way is he going to dance the reader can sense that dancing and manhood do not go together. Lety sense it too so she goes on and pinches his muscle and commenting that lifting weights has helped build his muscular arm pretty stiff trying to reinforce his sense of manhood. We notice Rey's attitude changes for a second once he starts to dance he observes Lety and notices different facial features he was not aware before Rey even states how pretty Lety really is, even though there is no way he is going to tell her possibly because he thinks that comment would be to childish. Rey observes Apa and Tio Angel arm wrestling and he notices how his Tio Angel gives in losing the match and how he laughs once again noticing the style of manhood his Tio Angel and Apa portray. Apa and Tio Angel's manhood can be described as noble, sincere, loving and taking situations like losing with humor and as opposed their manhood being questioned. Tio Angel transmits to Rey that he looked real sharp in his tuxedo "Como un hombrecito". Rey and the reader become aware that a person doesn't have to dress a certain way in order be considered macho.
"But I am Mexican. I could not-strike that-would not back down. I would do the deed. It was a question of manhood. Macho o mujeringa? Pues macho!" (69) Once again Rey is confronted with the idea of being a Macho or becoming a mujeringa. The tone in this scene is affecting the dramatic experience and is causing the reader to become interested and continue reading. Rey is being challenged by his friends to jump off the tree and do his best trick. Rey start to analyze his internal feelings and Rey's conclusion is that he doesn't feel good or comfortable about the jump. Rey clearly states it will be a big mistake and that his stomach was a better jumper because it was already flipping inside. This would not be the only time Rey was challenged to do something by his friends and his internal feelings gave a sensation of disapproval for example when Chuy's brothers would challenge Rey to go behind the house and have a smoke so Rey could become a man like Chuy. Rey never did it, a reason would always come up and he would leave. That internal feeling of right from wrong would build up after all Rey did not want to end up like Mr. Edwin with scars on his chest. Rey learned "that's how it was-be a man, or have a very good reason why you weren't acting all macho (manly)" (pg. 112) Throughout the three different motif scenes we can easily become aware along with the Rey that there are different ways of being a real man and Rey starts to sense that manhood is not just about drinking alcoholic beverages and being arrogant like his Tio Santos or doing something that goes against what a person considers right. Definitely after analyzing each motif scene the reader can state there is a change going on with the way the main character feels and observes different styles of manhood situations for example Rey dancing with Lety or even Apa and Tio Angel's arm wrestling match and finally having a good reason for not being a macho.
The reader could argue that Rey finally found his own style of manhood and to confirm this argument let's refer to the following quotes from The Jumping Tree. "I would be responsible for my actions." (pg. 169) Rey states he would take responsibility giving the reader the sense that is the way he is portraying real manhood. No matter how big and terrible the situation would be Rey was definitely starting to develop and give shape to his manhood the reader can sense it when he states, "But I knew I would stand firm" (pg. 169) This situation is not about being mean, tough macho its about standing up to your ideas and how culture is rooted in a person.
When Rey find outs that Tio Angel has been shot dead and the family start to mourn, especially Apa, Rey becomes the comforting shoulder. Rey had never seen his dad cry so, Rey feels this responsibility to help his dad overcome this painful moment and we can experience this feeling when Rey states, "He must have had a hard time not being able to show his true emotions. And this morning, I was able to offer my shoulder to Apa and more importantly he accepted it" (pg. 175) The reader can sense that Apa was right Rey was getting stronger not physically but rather emotionally.
Rey learned to accept himself for what he really was. Rey learned to be his natural way and noticed he was accepted by his new group of friends. The reader can sense the positive personality that Rey has developed when his friends state, "Rey, Rey, he's our man, if he can't do it, no one can." (pg. 161) Rey's image has developed into a positive and influencing way that his friends look up to him.