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from Two Dreamers by Gary Soto

1. Hectors grandfather Luis Molina was born in the small town of Jalapa, but left Mexico to
come to the United States when he was in his late twenties. Often, during quiet summer days,
he sat in his backyard and remembered his hometown with its clip-clop of horse and donkey
hooves, its cleanliness and dusty twilights, the crickets, and the night sky studded with stars. He
also remembered his father, a barber who enjoyed listening to his radio, and his mother, who
wore flower-print dresses and loved card games.
2. But that was many years ago, in the land of childhood. Now he lived in Fresno, on a shady
street with quiet homes. He had five children, more grandchildren than he had fingers and toes,
and was a night watchman at Sun-Maid Raisin.
3. Luis favorite grandson was Hector, who was like himself, dreamy and quiet. After work,
Luis would sleep until noon, shower, and sit down to his comida. Hector, who spent summers
with his grandparents, would join Grandfather at the table and watch him eat plates of frijoles
with guisado de carne smothered in chili.
4. Luis and Hector never said much at the table. It wasnt until his grandfather was finished
and sitting in his favorite chair that Hector would begin asking him questions about the world,
questions like, What do Egyptians look like? Is the world really round like a ball? How come we
eat chickens and they dont eat us?
5. By the time Hector was nine, it was the grandfather who was asking the questions. He had
become interested in real estate since he heard that by selling a house his son-in-law had made
enough money to buy a brand-new car and put a brick fence around his yard. It impressed him
that a young man like Genaro could buy one house, wait a month or two, sell it, and make
enough to buy a car and build a brick fence.
6. After lunch the grandfather would beckon his grandson to come sit with him. Ven, Hector.
Come. I want to talk to you. Quiero hablar contigo.
7. They would sit near the window in silence until the grandfather would sigh and begin
questioning his grandson. How much do you think that house is worth? Mucho dinero, no? A
lot?
8. Grandfather, you asked me that question yesterday, Hector would say, craning his neck
to look at the house. It was the yellow one whose porch light was kept on night and day.
9. Yes, but that was yesterday. Yesterday I had five dollars in my pocket and now I have only
three. Things change, hijo. Entiendes?
10. Hector stared at the house a long time before making a wild guess. Thirty thousand?
11. Do you really think so, my boy? His grandfather would go dreamy with hope. If that
house was worth thirty thousand, then his own house, which was better kept and recently
painted, would be worth much more. And in Mexico, even thirty thousand dollars would buy a lot
of houses. It was his hope that after he retired, he and his wife would return to Mexico, to Jalapa
where all the people would look on them with respect. Not one day would pass without the
butcher or barber or pharmacist or ambitious children with dollar signs in their eyes waving to
El Millionario.

12. One day after lunch his grandfather told Hector they were going to go see a house.
13. What house?
14. Hectors grandmother, who was wiping the table, scolded, Viejo, estas chiflado, youre
crazy. Why do you want to buy a house when you already have one?
15. The old man ignored her and went to the bathroom to splash cologne on his face and
comb his hair. Gently prodding Hector in front of him, he left his house to see another house two
blocks away.
1) Read the sentence from paragraph 6 of the excerpt from Two Dreamers.
After lunch the grandfather would beckon his grandson to come sit with him.
What does the word beckon mean as it is used in the sentence?
A) imagine
B) invite
C) yell
D) command
2) Which sentence from the passage best supports the answer from question 1?
A) Often, during quiet summer days, he sat in his backyard and remembered his hometown
with its clip-clop of horse and donkey hooves, its cleanliness and dusty twilights, the crickets,
and the night sky studded with stars.
B) Luis and Hector never said much at the table.
C) They would sit near the window in silence until the grandfather would sigh and begin
questioning his grandson.
D) His grandfather would go dreamy with hope.
3) Read the sentence from paragraph 14 of the excerpt from Two Dreamers.
Hectors grandmother, who was wiping the table, scolded, Viejo, estas chiflado, youre crazy.
Why do you want to buy a house when you already have one?
How does this sentence help develop the plot of the excerpt?
A) It presents the climax.
B) It presents the theme of the story.
C) It presents the conflict.
D) It presents the protagonist.

4) Which sentence from the passage best supports the answer from question 3?
A) Gently prodding Hector in front of him, he left his house to see another house two blocks
away.
B) It was his hope that after he retired, he and his wife would return to Mexico, to Jalapa where
all the people would look on them with respect.
C) Hectors grandfather Luis Molina was born in the small town of Jalapa, but left Mexico to
come to the United States when he was in his late twenties.
D) Luis favorite grandson was Hector, who was like himself, dreamy and quiet.
5) How does the author characterize Luis Molina in the excerpt?
A) sad, quiet, hard-working
B) quiet, working-class, ambitious
C) crazy, greedy, quiet
D) greedy, lazy, friendly
6) Which two sentences best support the answer from question 5?
A) The old man ignored her and went to the bathroom to splash cologne on his face and comb
his hair.
B) Not one day would pass without the butcher or barber or pharmacist or ambitious children
with dollar signs in their eyes waving to El Millionario.
C) After work, Luis would sleep until noon, shower, and sit down to his comida.
D) Luis and Hector never said much at the table.
E) He also remembered his father, a barber who enjoyed listening to his radio, and his mother,
who wore flower-print dresses and loved card games.
The Grandfather by Gary Soto
1. Grandfather believed a well-rooted tree was the color of money. His money he kept hidden
behind portraits of sons and daughters or taped behind the calendar of an Aztec warrior. He
tucked it into the sofa, his shoes and slippers, and into the tight-lipped pockets of his suits. He
kept it in his soft brown wallet that was machine tooled with MEXICO and a campesino and
donkey climbing a hill. He had climbed, too, out of Mexico, settled in Fresno and worth thirty
years at Sun Main Raisin, first as a packer and later, when he was old, as a watchman with a
large clock on his belt.
2. After work, he sat in the backyard under the arbor, watching the water gurgle in the rose
bushes that run along the fence. A lemon tree hovered near the clothesline. Two orange trees
stood near the alley. His favorite tree, the avocado, which had started in a jam jar from a seed
and three toothpicks lanced in its sides, rarely bore fruit. He said it was the winds fault, and the
mayors who allowed office buildings so high that the haze of pollen from the countryside could

never find its way into the city. He sulked about this. He said that in Mexico buildings only grew
so tall. You could see the moon at night, and the stars were clear points all the way to the
horizon. And wind reached all the way from the sea, which was blue and clean, unlike the oily
water sloshing against a San Francisco pier.
3. During its early years, I could leap over that tree, kick my bicycling legs over the top
branch and scream my fool head off because I thought for sure I was flying. I ate fruit to keep my
strength up, fuzzy peaches and branch-scuffed plums cooled in the refrigerator. From the
kitchen chair he brought out in the evening, Grandpa would scold, Hijo, whats the matta with
you? You gonna break it.
4. By the third year, the tree was as tall as I, its branches casting a meager shadow on the
ground. I sat beneath the shade, scratching words in the hard dirt with a stick. I had learned
Nile in summer school and a dirty word from his brother who wore granny sunglasses. The
red ants tumbled into my letters, and I buried them, knowing that they would dig themselves
back into fresh air.
5. A tree was money. If a lemon cost seven cents at Hanoians Market, then Grandfather
saved fistfuls of change and more because in winter the branches of his lemon tree hung heavy
yellow fruit. And winter brought oranges, juicy and large as softballs. Apricots he got by the
bagfuls from a son, who himself was wise for planting young. Peaches he got from a neighbor,
who worked the night shift at Sun Maid Raisin. The chile plants, which also saved him from
giving up his hot, sweaty quarters, were propped up with sticks to support an abundance of red
fruit.
6. But his favorite tree was the avocado because it offered hope and the promise of more
years. After work, Grandpa sat in the backyard, shirtless, tired of flagging trucks loaded with
crates of raisins, and sipped glasses of ice water. His yard was neat: five trees, seven rose
bushes, whose fruit were the red and white flowers he floated in bowls, and a statue of St.
Francis that stood in a circle of crushed rocks, arms spread out to welcome hungry sparrows.
7. After ten years, the first avocado hung on a branch, but the meat was flecked with black,
an omen, Grandfather thought, a warning to keep an eye on the living. Five years later, another
avocado hung on a branch, larger than the first and edible when crushed with a fork into a
heated tortilla. Grandfather sprinkled it with salt and laced it with a river of chile.
8. Its good, he said, and let me taste.
9. I took a big bite, waved a hand over my tongue, and ran for the garden hose gurgling in the
rose bushes. I drank long and deep, and later ate the smile from an ice cold watermelon.
10. Birds nested in the tree, quarreling jays with liquid eyes and cool, pulsating throats.
Wasps wove a horn-shaped hive one year, but we smoked them away with swords of rolled up
newspapers lit with matches. By then, the tree was tall enough for me to climb to look into the
neighbors yard. But by then I was too old for that kind of thing and went about with my brother,
hair slicked back and our shades dark as oil.
11. After twenty years, the tree began to bear. Although Grandfather complained about how
much he lost because poled never reached the poor part of town, because at the market he had
to haggle over the price of avocados, he loved that tree. It grew, as did his family, and when he

died, all his sons standing on each others shoulders, oldest to youngest, could not reach the
highest branches. The wind could move the branches, but the trunk, thicker than any waist,
hugged the ground.
7) Read the sentence from paragraph 11 of the excerpt The Grandfather.
After twenty years, the tree began to bear.
What does the word bear mean as it is used in the sentence?
A) live
B) a large, ferocious mammal
C) carry
D) naked
8) Which sentence from the passage best supports the answer from question 7?
A) It grew, as did his family, and when he died, all his sons standing on each others shoulders,
oldest to youngest, could not reach the highest branches.
B) If a lemon cost seven cents at Hanoians Market, then Grandfather saved fistfuls of change
and more because in winter the branches of his lemon tree hung heavy yellow fruit.
C) I drank long and deep, and later ate the smile from an ice cold watermelon.
D) Grandfather believed a well-rooted tree was the color of money.

9) For the non-fiction narrative The Grandfather, use the story map to create a
summary by placing the correct details into the correct places.
Characters:
Setting:

The author and his grandfather


At his grandfathers home

Conflict:

First Event:

Second Event:

Third Event:

Resolution:

The tree regularly bears


fruit.

Grandma dies.

Grandpa plants the tree. Grandpa wants to win a


cash prize for his tree
but it keeps getting sick.

Grandpa wants the tree


to grow food but pollen
wont make it into the
city.

The tree has its first


edible fruit.

The tree has one fruit


that cant be eaten.

The tree gets sick and


dies.

10) Read the character traits in the list and decide whether they are found in the
characterization of Luis Molina, the grandfather, or both. Write each character trait in the
appropriate location in the table.
Luis Molina in Two Dreamers

Has a favorite grandson


Works as a night watchman
Dreamy
Believes in omens

Both

Gary Sotos Grandfather in


The Grandfather

11) You have read the passage from Two Dreamers and The Grandfather. Both texts
develop the subject of dreams or aspirations. Write an essay that compares and
contrasts what the author has to say about the subject of dreams or aspirations in these
two works.

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