Some Thoughts about “The Cariboo Cafe”

The Cariboo Cafe was a profound story indeed. When I started to read this story, I could hardly comprehend since its fragmentary narrative. Then, I started to think about why the author arranged such “chaos” throughout the story. The answer I come up with was that Helena Viramontes, the author of this story, hoped us can dive into the unfriendly worlds that these “illegal” immigrants used to. By achieving this, author inserted different aspects towards each unique narrative. Like both stories of the lost Mexican children and a refugee woman were written into a first person version and a third person version. Most of the time, we judged others merely by their appearance just like the owner of the coffee shop. He said the refugee women was a weirdo. However, after we read the story later, we knew that she was a pitiful mother and her only wish was to stay with her son. We would never know these facts of someone unless we had a deep talk to him or her. I believe this was something Viramontes wanted to emphasize by such special arrangement. Nobody came to this country for no reason. Why don’t we sit down and listen to the people around us peacefully when they feel depress or powerless, or we can just make a cup of coffee for them. A coffee with soft and sweet scent.

2 thoughts on “Some Thoughts about “The Cariboo Cafe”

  1. Rachel M

    I really enjoy your comparison of the fragmented writing style and the coinciding events of the story. This style allows the reader to feel a similar level of fluster as the characters in the narrative feel. I think the almost choppy style adds to the pacing as well. The confusion that the style manifests requires the reader to be extremely focused on the actions at hand. Additionally, the bizarre writing format also matches the steady decline of the unnamed woman’s mental state. As she begins to lose touch with reality, the author does an excellent job of purposefully making their writing less cohesive.


  2. Geneva D

    I really like the idea in this post and I think it relates really well to current events. This story was written in the 1980s, yet it seems like it could have been written yesterday because of the connection to immigration. I also think you make a really good point of the fact that we should listen to immigrants stories. America is a land of mostly immigrants, and we are supposed to be welcoming to all. We should be inviting them and trying to help then rather than trying to build walls to shut them out.


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