The anthology of stories within Humor Me mainly focus on similar themes of race identity, family culture, and/or individuals within a larger society. I found myself in anticipation while reading these short stories, hoping for an overall positive emotional response. However, I actually find that the stories have mainly caused me to respond in one of two ways. The first is a reflective response, probably due to the unresolved endings of so many of the stories. The second is an overwhelming sadness (or as I would call it – a mild funk). A few of the characters (i.e. Nelson) are very weak in mind and spirit. Their hopes are easily dashed, such as Art Woo in Birthmates, or sidetracked, like Jaun in Godoy Lives.
Godoy Lives tells the story of Juan, who steals a dead man’s identity in hopes of crossing the border. As the story unfolds, the reader discovers this character is easily removed from his original track and becomes engrossed in the lives of the Godoy’s. He is able to remove himself from a previous life and adopt a new reality. Characters like Juan elicit a sense of disappointment from the reader. He does not honor loyalty or righteousness. While characters such as Juan and others elicit disappointment, they also raise the question of whether the character is wrong or doing what is best for their survival. A question that causes many a reader (myself included) to contemplate the morality of the character; and in turn, themselves and society.
The placement of the individual within the society runs as a major theme through the stories, which caused my reflective response to much of the text. Stories like Assimilation and especially Pyramid have no clear ending or resolution. How is Pyramid to be deciphered? What is to be taken away after reading it? The short stories are mainly left open to personal interpretation, which is why I find that this blog is more for my own personal benefit than my peers.