The Rain God
The Rain God is a novelized family fiction written by Arturo Islas about a Mexican family living in a town on the U.S.-Mexican border, illustrating its members’ struggle to cope with physical disabilities, sexuality, racial and ethnic identification in their new surrounding(American Publishing Society) The book is basically divided into six major chapters where in the first chapter, the plot revolves around the character Miguel Grande. Miguel Grande is the only member of the Angle family who has succeeded in having access to college education. However, the fact that he lives far away form home in San Francisco leads to a situation when he is viewed with suspicion by the rest of the family members.
In the next chapter, there is the introduction of another character named Nina, who is Juanita’s sister. However, this character is portrayed as being rebellious in nature as well being into numerous conflicts with her father. The arguments with her father seem to have passed to her son, a situation that leads Nina to relentlessly blame her father for not being able to mediate the differences between her and her son. During one of the fights, Antony, Nina’s son, dies, but it is not clear regarding the cause of death and it is assumed that it might have been a result of a natural cause or suicide. In the following chapter, the character Miguel Chico’s father is introduced. Miguel is seen as one of the profound sinners in the story as a result of his discreet relationship with Lola, who is his wife Juanita’s best friend.
Miguel seems to be spoilt because his incapability to choose between his wife and lover. Chapter four tells the story of Miguel Grande’s brother Felix, who is killed by a soldier whom he sexually abused (pp.113). The following chapter details the life of Felix’s son JoEl, who has night terrors, a condition believed to be caused by the death of his father. In the last chapter, the author details Mama Chona, Miguel Grande’s mother who is portrayed as a beastly character who has terribly failed in her role as a mother.
Having escaped the Mexican Revolution in 1911, Mama Chona tries countless times to try and hold the Angle family together but seems to fail in doing this going by the differences that exist in the family. Miguel Chico is the main character as well as the protagonist in the story. His real name is Miguel Angel but he is refereed to as Miguel Chico in order to distinguish him form his father. Commonly known as Mickie, Miguel Chico was born in the early 1930’s, a period that goes in history as having the Mexican Revolution as well as the Second World War. Being one of the first of Mexican origin, he went to one of the best institutions of learning and eventually became a university professor and started living in San Francisco. However, Miguel Chico is diagnosed with an intestinal complication, one that the doctor notices that has been present since childhood.
The only solution to this is a surgical procedure. Under this context, Miguel Chico sees himself as a “slave of plastic appliances” (pp. 62)