Ramon Quintero is a man of focus, commitment, sheer will, and perhaps more than anything, he is characterized by his passion. But his passion does not always serve him the way it should. It causes him to develop sexist viewpoints and great mistrust for all white people. It causes him to be hypocritical; Ramon is emotionally dominant towards his wife, and the company he works for is physically dominant towards him. There is a lot about Ramon that needs improvement, and while he doesn’t see reason at first, in the end he does with the help of his wife, Esperanza.
At the commencement of the film, Ramon seems to be a man of reason, and it’s obvious he is one of passion. He has had enough of being treated like an inferior by his bosses and the company overall. He demands safer working conditions and quickly establishes himself as the leader of the strike movement. While all this gives us the impression that Ramon wants equality, it is safe to say that his version of equality does not include women. Not long after, Ramon is shown to be a hypocrite with dangerous behaviors and attitudes. There are white workers who have never been anything but loyal to Ramon’s cause, but still he is hesitant to trust them. While the women of the city, Esperanza included, come up with a plan to save the strike, Ramon doesn’t want them to help because he feels the women would embarrass them.
Ramon has a lot of emotional growth to do. He needs to realize that just because someone is white, it doesn’t mean that person is a “boss” who thinks Mexicans are “filthy trash.” This kind of behavior is what made Ramon want to protest in the first place. You would think that a man who publicly and voraciously fights against a certain type of behavior would not practice that behavior himself. But Ramon does, and it is behaviors like these that threaten to destroy his home life, and perhaps even the strike in the process.
Ramon’s greatest weakness is his attitude towards women. I would argue that until the last five minutes of the film, Ramon holds no “real” respect for women at all. When I say “real” respect, I mean that Ramon needs to support his wife physically, mentally, and spiritually. You must remember that days that are special to your wife, like her saints’ day. You must be willing to help with the little things around the house, like dishes and laundry. Perhaps most important, you must be there for her. After work, Ramon spends most of his time drinking beer with his friends. I recognize that he is attempting to organize the strike, but in the process, he is neglecting his family. There is no “man code,” despite what you may think or have been told, but a man must honor his responsibilities, and family is by far the most important of them.
The women in the film save the entire town. By displaying undeniable levels of community, friendship, confidence, and determination, the company decides to settle with the workers, and the eviction of Ramon’s family is avoided. Ramon was able to see them in action, and I think this is what helped to change is ways. I suppose you can’t blame someone for being skeptical in a situation that has never been experienced, but all rational thought tells us to give it a chance. I’m glad that Ramon decided to change his mind about the involvement of women; it takes more for some people to open their eyes, but as long as they are open in the end, then a bright future is almost guaranteed to follow.