8 A. Observing characteristics of culture Cameron, A. (1993). The Most Beautiful Place in the World. Yearling.

As a seven-year-old boy growing up in aged country of Guatemala, Juan has only been to San Pablo. He knows the boundaries of the city, the fields of corn and onions, how the lights look at night on the water, and how many volcano’s the city has. Having grown up in a culture stricken with poverty, this is all Juan has known from birth. Despite this the short story, The Most Beautiful Place In The World, paints a bright picture of Guatemala. Like a veil shielding ones eyes from the truth, the culture depicted in the story portrayed the beautiful backdrop of San Pablo. Juan speaks of the beauty around him, however the reality is that roads are not used because they were rundown and stray animals roamed the streets. He does not focus on the negativity nor poverty in hopes to keep his spirits high. Truth is, the reality could completely drown an individual, making Juan’s life a pointless task. In many cultures when money is tough to come by a family pulls together knowing they may not have much, but they definitely have one another. However, Guatemala lacks this underlying importance of family support. Juan’s mother practically abandons him when she remarries because her new husband does not like him. Thus forcing her mother, Juan’s grandmother, to take him in. Despite her lack of interest in raising her daughters kid, she gives him a shoe shining kit and sends him to work in hopes he will generate income. The mindset and values of the Guatemalan people are summed up when the young boy mentioned missing his bed over his mother. In many ways Juan was born into a gang, for the fact that if he wanted out of

. The most amazing quality about this culture is how it is depicted. However.poverty or wanted a better life he would have to fight for it. a requirement for all children in the States his age. upon closer examination they also capture the reality. Juan wanted to learn how to read and simply attend school. Visual illustrations express the beauty. Juan asked customers to teach him letters so he could later read street signs until he was able to convince his grandmother to let him go to school.” Juan makes Guatemala beautiful despite the poverty and having a lackluster mother. he is determined to better himself. however. One of my favorite lines is when his grandmother tells him that the most beautiful place in the world is “…anyplace you can hold your head up. he had to use his shoe shining job to better himself. This inspiring character gives beauty a different definition for all readers. Using it to his advantage.

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