Monday, November 2, 2009


In an interview with Random House, Nina Marie Martinez claims that the songs on the jukebox at the Big Five-Four provide the reader with "a better sense of place." She goes on to say that as she was writing there was always either mariachi or rockabilly playing in the background. In one early scene at the Big Five-Four, Texas Tornados' "Hey Baby, Que Paso?" plays, followed by Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" (pp. 14-15).

Later (p. 49), we learn that April May performs her skating act to Billy Lee Riley's rockabilly hit, "Red Hot," the song actually playing as the Queen begins her routine only to be interrupted by Favy's award-winning rendition of "La Cigarra" (p. 358).

Examining one of these two scenes and listening to the attendant songs, explain how the songs either provide a sense of place or complicate the reader's sense of place. You will need first to describe what "sense of place" means in the scene in particular: what defines the place in question. Then, think about the nature of the songs, how they interact with the "place" you have described/defined, and what that suggests about "place" in general in the novel.

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