The Blue Mexican

The Blue Mexican Trivia

Trivia: The Blue Mexican

These are tidbits, trivia and tributes to the various arts sprinkled throughout the novel.

The protagonist is mentioned by name only four times throughout the novel.  He thought of never having his name mentioned, but it would be too obvious to literature buffs that this is a tribute to Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, one of the author’s favorite books, so he wanted to preserve the dignity to honor the memory of Ralph Ellison’s classic.

The word “blue” is mentioned 35 times, an obvious deliberate reference to the title.

The author adopted his genre of writing to those of the romanticist genre, an homage to his favorite author who also wrote in this genre, Mary Shelley, the writer of Frankenstein. Some elements of the genre incorporated into the novel are focus on the self, social inequities, preference for the melancholy, and idealization of the poor.

Two women play prominent roles in the development of the protagonist.  In the first half of the book, the young woman’s name is Shelley. In the second half of the novel, the woman is named Mary, another tribute to the author of Frankenstein.

The name of the police chief, who becomes the antagonist in the last third of the novel, is a tribute to the ancient, Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf. The chief’s name is G.R. Rendle, a reference to the demon Grendel in the poem, who becomes an adversary to the author as much as the Grendel was to Beowulf.

On page 85 when the protagonist drifts into his dream-like state in his first sexual encounter, there is a reference to the film The Shining when he hears the words, “Come play with us Danny…” The spooky, ghostly sisters say this to the little boy, Danny (Danny Lloyd), in the film.

Page 112 shows a tribute to Simon and Garfunkle’s son, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard when the protagonist, on his first day as a policeman, has to find a man named Julio who stole his fiance’s engagement ring during a domestic squabble.

On page 225, another reference to The Shining can be found when the protagonist, as a police sergeant, makes a bar check. The bar is nearly empty when he approaches the bartender, an old high school flame, and says, “Not too busy tonight, are you, Linda?” She responds, “Not busy at all, Danny-boy” (one of the four times where his name is mentioned). The dialogue is in The Shining when Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) enters the empty bar and talks to Lloyd (Joe Turkel), the ghostly bartender. The Shining is one of the author’s favorite films which he teaches in his Film as Literature college class.

Page 242, the author mourns the death of his best friend, referring to him as “nevermore,” a tribute to another favorite author, Edgar Allan Poe.

Page 287 is a tribute to Humphrey Bogart’s film, Treasure of the Sierra Madre. “I don’t got to show you no stinkin’ badges!”

Page 293 is a tribute to Al Pacino in his role as Tony Montana in Scarface. When Montana walks into his boss’ office after he tried to have Tony killed, Tony has his gun drawn. When asked by the crooked cop (Harris Yulin), who is there chumming it up with Frank, Tony’s, boss (Robert Loggia), the cop asks him why he has the gun. Tony says in his Cuban accent, “I’m, how you say, paranoy “(paranoid). These words are spoken in the book in the protagonist’s mind as he eyes the crooked attorney about to cross examine him in court.

The last page, 312, is a tribute to the film The Matrix, when the protagonist contemplates returning to college, something that has been missing in his life, “like a splinter in my mind.” Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) said these words to Neo (Keanu Reeves) as he was explaining what the Matrix is.

Musical trivia

Besides the obvious musical lyrics, referenced in the novel which helps tell the story, these are other tributes to rock and roll classics to give time reference or as a way of adding to the tale. Page numbers in parentheses.

The Beach Boys. “Surfin’ Safari” (27)

The Beatles. “She Loves You” (31)

The Kingsmen. “Louie, Louie” (36)

The Rolling Stones. “Heart of Stone” (40), “Backstreet Girl” (188)

Jimi Hendrix. “Purple Haze” (52)

Bob Lind. “The Elusive Butterfly of Love” (68)

Credence Clearwater Revival. “Suzie-Q” (81)

Cream. “Sunshine of Your Love” (82)

The Youngbloods. “Get Together” (101)

Simon and Garfunkel. “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” (112)

The Standells. “Dirty Water” (116)

David Peel and the Lower East Side. “Have a Marijuana” (133)

Bob Dylan. “The Times, They are a-changing” (133), “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (261)

Michael Jackson. “Smooth Criminal” (183)

Lou Reed. “Walk on the Wild Side” (192)

Bob Seeger. “Old Time Rock and Roll” (193)

Alicia Bridges. “I Love the Night Life” (195)

David Bowie. “Always Crashing in the Same Car” (195), “Alladin Sane” (274)

The Doors. “Edge of the Night” (208), “The End” (216)

Steppenwolf.  “The Pusher” (260)

Facts:

Shortly after the book was published, the character, Mary, prominent in the 3rd part of the book phoned the author. She is still alive and well. After some conversation, she told him she still loved him. Alas, unrequited love!

Before the book was published, the author learned that his father was not really his father, rather his step-father, a long kept family secret. The author found his real father alive and well living in Plano, Texas, a full blooded Mexican, a man in his 80’s in good health and still working part time. This was the impetus for the author to complete the novel and, thus, the title.

The cover is highly symbolic. The skull is obvious, a reference to death and the decay of his moral soul as he progresses through life in this existential journey. The Mexican flag bandana is a tribute to all those Mexicans who toiled in the fields, who were often mistreated, exploited, and often killed. The heart in the left eye of the skull is a wishful reference to peace, a remembrance of a time more innocent, when there was hope that the world could change and everyone could love one another in racial, cultural and economic harmony. A wish the author still has in an ever growing violent world. The marijuana leaf is a tribute to the 60’s, when the possession of single joint was a felony and one could go to prison! In retrospect, it was much ado about nothing, really, a time for experimentation, self discovery and independence.

The author still has a passion for the music of the 60’s and uses it to this day to supplement his classroom lectures and literature in college and a private parochial school.

 

Thank you for taking the time to check out the trivia page. Feel free to comment on this or any aspect of the book, good or bad, at bluemexican@comcast.net

 

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