Deportation at Breakfast by Larry Fondation
In Deportation at Breakfast by Larry Fondation we have the theme of conflict, uncertainty, change and identity. Narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Fondation may be exploring the theme of conflict. There is a sense that the narrator is in conflict with himself. He is uncertain as to what to order and the troubles that Javier encounters in some way are a manifestation of the confusion that the narrator feels. It is also interesting that after Javier gets arrested and is removed from the restaurant the narrator’s life becomes that little bit easier. True he is taking on the role of Javier but he appears to be comfortable in doing so. Something that is noticeable by the narrator’s interaction with the other customers in the restaurant. If anything the narrator fits hand and glove into his new role. All to the disinterest of the other customers in the restaurant. This may be significant as Fondation may be exploring the theme of identity when it comes to the narrator’s new role.
He allows for the narrator to easily slip into his new position and to be good at it. Javier is long forgotten by everyone except by the narrator. Who wonders why Javier never hired a waitress to help him. Though minor this is still nonetheless significant as it suggests that the narrator is prepared to take on Javier’s role or identity. He is comfortable in the position he finds himself in and sees no obstacles in front of him. Though logically the reader suspects that there may be a few obstacles that will face the narrator. Things like regular customers asking where Javier is (deported). On the subject of identity it is also possible that Fondation is suggesting that others too may find it easy to slip inside the identity of another person. In reality questioning who we really are and what defines us as who we are. For Javier it was his illegal immigrant status and his job. For the narrator it is as though he has, with luck, ended up in the position he finds himself in.
All uncertainty the narrator has about who he is, is cast aside when he begins to cook for himself and others. It is as though he has found his place and is enjoying himself. If anything he identities with being a cook. The reader is also left to assume that the narrator, prior to taking over from Javier, is unemployed. How else could he so easily fill Javier’s shoes. If this is the case and the narrator is unemployed it would play heavily on the theme of conflict. The narrator may be lost in time or regretful that he has not got a job. He may also be an opportunist. Taking advantage of the position he finds himself in. That being replacing Javier with ease. There are also parts of the story which are difficult to believe. That the narrator could so easily take over form Javier without anybody knowing or taking notice. Though the police were prompt when it came to removing Javier and did so with little fuss. Which might explain why nobody in the restaurant noticed Javier was missing.
The end of the story is also interesting as the narrator fully immerses himself in the role that Javier previously had. He allows for new customers to move the furniture in order to accommodate them and he also appears to have no problem with preparing any of the food that is on the menu. As mentioned the narrator’s hand fits the glove with ease. Perhaps a little too easily. The narrator’s opinion of Javier is also interesting as he bears no ill will towards him. He takes Javier for who he is. There is also a sense that the narrator grows or changes in the story. Going from customer to owner of the restaurant in a matter of moments. The narrator may also think that today is his lucky day. He is down on his luck and Javier’s misfortune accommodates the narrator. If anything the narrator is in the right place at the right time. He is exceptionally fortunate to have landed on his feet. Going from unemployed to restaurant owner. It is not just Javier’s life that has changed dramatically. The narrator’s life too has changed. Any concerns that he had prior to entering the restaurant have been alleviated by Javier’s misfortune.