The group discussion about “The Cariboo Cafe” introduced the question: Would the story be better or worse without the last missing page? People made good arguments supporting both sides of the question but I think the last page is what makes “The Cariboo Cafe” a great story and is critical for the reader to appreciate Viramontes’s writing.
The last page is necessary to the story because it provides the reader with a satisfying ending. Although it isn’t quite a happy ending, the reader isn’t guessing as to what happens to the mother and Geraldo. It’s true that the Cafe owner is facing a dilemma and we see his decision to call the cops during the end of page 161, but if the story ended there, the reader doesn’t see how crazy the mother is or the harsh truth of the brutality among cops and illegal immigrants.
Also, Viramontes’s best writing comes on the last page. She writes about death in a way I have never thought of, seen, or read before. Her vivid detail when writing “I hear something like broken glass against my forehead and I am blinded by the liquid darkness” (161.5) drew my attention because of her interesting and unique way of describing death. The story as a whole is confusing and I think the author meant it to be that way but the last page is the most clear part and had me, as a reader, hooked to each word unlike the story’s beginning.