The Infinity Mirror “Tularecito” is a myth about truth. Tularicito, just a character of that myth, is the focus for this glossed overfable. Steinbeck draws on this form of genre to present the idea that we are all a part of what happens to others, based uponour nature. The image presented of Tularecito is that of a demon, an idiot savant, a boy with a gift from God, and that gift’scost. He is a freak, a dangerous misfit, an innocent who does not need the constraints of reality. Tularecito is a test.
The test isone of moral caliber. It is a test of the souls of the characters who overshadaow Tularecito. Pancho is a man that is both holyand sinful.
His purfunctory act of church going becomes true belief as alcohol demons induce him to halucinate a deformed boyinto an outcast from hell. He looks into his mirror and sees 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, andperhaps possibly killed, cannot face killing her son with her bare hands. She leaves the killing to exposure to the elements,enying herself a look into Tularecito.
Franklin adopts Pancho’s demon, and Tularecito transforms into a disadvantaged who hasbeen gifted with talent. Tularecito becomes a man at the age of six, “The boy grew rapidly, but after the fifth year his brain didnot grow any more,” To Franklin, Tularecito is grace, and graceless. He is talented in all things of any physical strength, andwell proficient in the creation of beauty, and an artist in the care for life of nature. The touch of Tularecito brings beauty, andlife, and love to the world, until he becomes enraged, (should anyone endanger what came from the touch of his hand). Franklinlooked into Tularecito’s mirror and saw what Tularecito was. Authority views come from several directions. While one teachersees Tularecito as a Pavlovian dog, needing to be trained, the other sees him as an idiot savant, needing only to be pushed intoharmless fantasy. This leads a third view of Tularecito, one of a simple minded killer that needs to be locked up for his owngood.
Tularecito is viewed as less than human from the start. His name means “little frog”, and his physical disabilities are seenby all, causing fear. Tularecito is a noble savage. Dangerous to look at but hiding the soul of God, hf is intimidating, a creator,and dangerously tempermental.
As Steinbeck weaves his tale, it is obviously full of metaphors on the basic belief of our societythat everything must be forced into a plausable category, fit for inclusion into the human race. Tularecito should never have goneto school. He would have been happy living at home, simple as he was.
In the end society takes Tularecito and makes him amonster. Since monsters are not allowed into human society, Tularecito goes looking for a different society that he does belongto. Unfortunately this society doen not exist. Tularecito has no control over his perceptions of reality and fantasy. He searchesfor a world of fantasy, and in his efforts, he creates a hole.
When this hole is covered up, it confirms Tularecito’s belief infantasy. Tularecito creates another hole, and waits for his fantasy to show. Tularecito has only one flaw. He believes that whathe created should not be destroyed. Whenever this happens, should it be school, work, or fantasy, Tularecito defends hiscreations with the only thing he can understand, violence. It is not like true, calculated violence, but very much like a motornerve reaction.
He reacts with pure emotion and pain, and eventually he kills. Steinbeck tells an interesting story with Tularecitoas a mirror. In fact, all the characters in the story are mirrors. As we look at them we see how we measure against them. ButTularecito is a mirror with an infinity of sides. He is a tool for testing human beliefs, one of which is that sometimes, it is better toleave things alone than to try to force them into our mirror image of how they should exist.
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