This study guide will help you analyze the text “Deportation at Breakfast” by Larry Fondation. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, themes and message.
Presentation of the text
Title: “Deportation at Breakfast”
Author: Larry Fondation
Published in: Unscheduled Departures: The Asylum Anthology of Short Fiction
Year of publication: 1991
Genre: Short story
Larry Fondation is an American author of both fiction and non-fiction novels and short stories. Most of his literary work is inspired by the urban life of Los Angeles, where he has lived since the 1980s.
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Although it seems like Javier has worked at the diner for some time, he does not protest his arrest, suggesting that he expected this to happen at some point. His lack of resistance might also suggest that he accepts the American system for what it is (just like the other people in the cafe).
Javier clearly has multiple roles in the diner – he is the cook but also a waiter. After he is gone, the narrator looks around for other employees and wonders “why Javier hadn’t hired a waitress”(p. 2, ll. 32-33), as the workload seems to be too difficult for only one person. This alludes to a common situation among illegal immigrants, who are often forced to work difficult jobs in improper conditions. The clean appearance of the diner also suggests that Javier is a hard-working individual.
Notice how Javier, although observed by the narrator, is an anonymous figure in the eyes of the others. People in the diner do not even notice when he is taken away and replaced by the narrator. For them, Javier is only one of the millions of illegal immigrants in America. He does not matter to them, and they see him as replaceable. He also becomes the stereotype of the Mexican who has illegally immigrated to America in the hope of finding a better life, but who always knows that he might be deported.