The Infinity Mirror
"Tularecito" is a myth about truth. Tularicito, just a character of that
myth, is
the focus for this glossed over fable. Steinbeck draws on this form of
to present the idea that we are all a part of what happens to others,
upon our nature.
The image presented of Tularecito is that of a demon, an idiot savant, a
with a gift from God, and that gift's cost. He is a freak, a dangerous
an innocent who does not need the constraints of reality. Tularecito is
test. The test is one of moral caliber. It is a test of the souls of the
characters who overshadaow Tularecito.
Pancho is a man that is both holy and sinful. His purfunctory act of
going becomes true belief as alcohol demons induce him to halucinate a
deformed boy into an outcast from hell. He looks into his mirror and
himself, becomes shaken, reforms.
>From Pancho's employer, Franklin Gomez, we get a cold hard look into
society. We see a mother, knowing her son is to be hated and feared, and
perhaps possibly killed, cannot face killing her son with her bare
She leaves the killing to exposure to the elements, enying herself a
look into
Franklin adopts Pancho's demon, and Tularecito transforms into a
disadvantaged who has been gifted with talent. Tularecito becomes a man
at the age of six, "The boy grew rapidly, but after the fifth year his
brain did
not grow any more," To Franklin, Tularecito is grace, and graceless. He
talented in all things of any physical strength, and well proficient in
creation of beauty, and an artist in the care for life of nature. The
touch of
Tularecito brings beauty, and life, and love to the world, until he
enraged, (should anyone endanger what came from the touch of his hand).
Franklin looked into Tularecito's mirror and saw what Tularecito was.
Authority views come from several directions. While one teacher sees
Tularecito as a Pavlovian dog, needing to be trained, the other sees him
an idiot savant, needing only to be pushed into harmless fantasy. This
leads a third view of Tularecito, one of a simple minded killer that
needs to
be locked up for his own good.
Tularecito is viewed as less than human from the start. His name means
"little frog", and his physical disabilities are seen by all, causing
Tularecito is a noble savage. Dangerous to look at but hiding the soul
God, hf is intimidating, a creator, and dangerously tempermental.
As Steinbeck weaves his tale, it is obviously full of metaphors on the
belief of our society that everything must be forced into a plausable
category, fit for inclusion into the human race. Tularecito should never
gone to school. He would have been happy living at home, simple as he
was. In the end society takes Tularecito and makes him a monster. Since
monsters are not allowed into human society, Tularecito goes looking for
different society that he does belong to.
Unfortunately this society doen not exist. Tularecito has no control
over his
perceptions of reality and fantasy. He searches for a world of fantasy,
in his efforts, he creates a hole. When this hole is covered up, it
Tularecito's belief in fantasy. Tularecito creates another hole, and
waits for
his fantasy to show.
Tularecito has only one flaw. He believes that what he created should
be destroyed. Whenever this happens, should it be school, work, or
fantasy, Tularecito defends his creations with the only thing he can
understand, violence. It is not like true, calculated violence, but very
like a motor nerve reaction. He reacts with pure emotion and pain, and
eventually he kills.
Steinbeck tells an interesting story with Tularecito as a mirror. In
fact, all the
characters in the story are mirrors. As we look at them we see how we
measure against them. But Tularecito is a mirror with an infinity of
sides. He
is a tool for testing human beliefs, one of which is that sometimes, it
better to leave things alone than to try to force them into our mirror
image of
how they should exist.
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