A Sympathetic Antonio in Hector Tobar’s The Tattooed Soldier BY ant28 Sympathetic Antonio In Hector Tobar’s novel, The Tattooed Soldier, many of the characters experience unpleasant situations. These include homelessness, Joblessness, and murder. These unpleasant situations lead to negativity in their lives, and this negativity can evoke feelings of sympathy. Of all the characters in Tobar’s novel, I believe Antonio deserves the greatest amount of sympathy because he lives a life of constant despair and is often treated unfairly, which is like a trap from which he cannot escape.
Antonio’s wife and son, Elena and Carlos, are killed by Longoria. In the chapter, Fire Escape”, on page 183, it states “l did not bury my wife and child, but I can stand and seek vengeance, for them and for the many, for the anonymous dead”. “Now Antonio knew how Elena must have felt when she marched in the demonstrations. Now he could see why she was a revolutionary, he could understand what had been a mystery before”. “This is how Elena felt, tall and strong. This is what she was trying to tell me, but I wouldn’t listen. Elena knew that to march with the many was to stand tall.
Elena loved me because she knew I could be a brave fghter” (Tobar 183). This shows that Antonio is upset because his wife Elena and his son Carlitos are killed. Elena had written a complaint letter to the government because people were dying due to the filthy water caused by the garbage that people dumped onto it. She requested that the changes should be made in a nearby city. She was also famous for making her points clear. The Guatemalan government sent a soldier named Longoria to kill Antonio and Elena for complaining to the fascist government and they found it to be a threat.
Their family have been suspected of being informer immigrants and are being hunted down. Antonio escaped death by being at work when his family was killed. After the death of his wife, Antonio had no choice but to escape from there if he wanted to live. He ran away to Los Angeles, hoping for a better life. Instead, Just the opposite occurred. Antonio felt sad due to the fact he was facing many hardships and has difficulties living. In Los Angeles, Antonio saw poverty and despair everywhere he went He was poor, had no Job, and no home. He became homeless because he was an immigrant.
Antonio was an immigrant who didn’t know that much English. He used to be a middle class government worker in Guatemala. When Antonio came to Los Angeles, everything he knew became useless. It was like this for him since he couldn’t communicate and he had to accept any Job that would help him earn money. He had to be in this situation if he did not want to be killed. He was living in a hotel but eventually he got kicked out of it and had to go live on the streets. In the chapter, “Fire Escape”, on page 183, it states that “Antonio would stay in Los Angeles and track down the tattooed soldier and make him pay for his crimes.
He would kill this man with his own hands” ( Tobar 183). In the chapter, Department of Sanitation, on page 228, it states that “l have been living this way, less than human, for longer than I can remember. I have been wearing the helmet of mourning and self-pity too long. I am living in the streets, under the starless sky. I am homeless” (Tobar 22 In the chapter, “Department ot Sanitation”, on page states that “there is a balance between us. We are opposites balancing a scale, we are mathematics. I am tall, he is short. I live under the sky, he lives under the roof.
He as a girlfriend, I live alone. He has a Job, I do not. He is the killer, I am his victim. ” (Tobar 229). In the chapter, Department of Sanitation, on page 232, “it also states “In a matter of moments their shelter had been reduced to a tidy patch of dirt. After the police left, after he had listened to their final warning to “stay off this property’, Antonio went back to the lot and examined the ground, walking slowly in a growing spiral. There was nothing to be found but the bumpy soil beneath his feet, the crisscross of the bulldozer’s long tracks, the wounds gouged by the shovel” (Tobar 32).
These are the three ways it shows that he is facing poverty and despair. Homelessness is why Antonio became the man he is. Antonio felt as if he had really lost everything. He had lost the family he had, his life in Guatemala, and now his apartment in Los Angeles. Antonio felt that being on the streets downtown made him feel braver than he had ever felt because he made choices that he most likely would never have made if he lived in his old apartment in Los Angeles. Antonio lets out his anger on an elderly man who attempts to steal a hot plate pan from a large trash bag f their belongings from his old apartment.
Antonio runs after the old man and punches him multiple times. “Antonio drove his fist into the man’s face, the nose cartilage snapping under his knuckles. Another punch this one like hammering nails into the ground, a clenched fist to the temple. A weak scream from the thief, and then one more punch, to the mouth”. He felt ashamed and embarrassed of what he did to the old man, unlike Longoria who feels more alive after his savage acts. Antonio eventually blames his actions on the surroundings. Antonio becomes determined to ill Longoria and begins to watch Longoria’s every move.
He has the desire to kill Longoria for many reasons and wants to get rid of him. Eventually, under many conditions, Antonio does manage to meet Frank, another homeless man who is an African American on the streets of Los Angeles. As they both move from place to place, they spot Longoria. This sighting evokes feelings of sadness in Antonio, and asks Frank to help him get revenge. Frank is hesitant at first to assist Antonio but then does because he hears that Longoria can be similar to a Nazi, and doesn’t think again and offers to help.
Just a few feet from the soldier, he raised the pipe in the air, lifting his arms and rotating his shoulders like a baseball pitcher in his windup, gathering a wave of strength in his muscles to kill the man once and for all, to rid the earth of him(Tobar 208). This is because Antonio came into his anger and tried to attack Longoria while he is at the park, playing chess with his friends. Antonio felt that he made his extinct baby and wife proud of him by doing this revenge. He also purchased a gun to ensure himself that he would take the life of Longoria and make no mistakes while doing so.