Marcelo in the Real World
by Francisco X. Stork
Marcelo in the Real World Chapter 4 Summary
- The history of the tree house: Marcelo's big sister Yolanda suggested it when Marcelo was 10. She thought it would help him get over his fear of sleeping somewhere other than in his own room, in his own house.
- Because she's the best big sister ever, Yolanda got her high school shop class to build the tree house as a class project.
- Aurora drops in on the tree house that night to halfheartedly apologize for Arturo's plan. Marcelo reiterates how much he wanted to work at Paterson; Aurora reiterates the "real world" thing.
- But wait—there's Jasmine! She's the manager of the mailroom at the law firm, and she's only 19, two years older than Marcelo. Aurora seems to think Marcelo's the type who gets excited about human friends.
- Have this kid's parents ever met him?
- Aurora reminds Marcelo of the first time she took him to work with her in the pediatric oncology ward of the hospital, where she's a nurse, and how he got along with the dying kids and they all loved him.
- She was worried at first about how he'd react to so much suffering and death, but he reminds her that those things are part of God's natural order and don't affect him like they do other people.
- Aurora tries another story: when she was Marcelo's age, she worked as a nurse's aide in a geriatric unit, and met an old man named Mr. Quintana who wanted to ride a roller coaster before he died.
- Aurora took him to ride one, and the old guy said he could die happy. Marcelo fails to understand the point of the story.
- He tells Aurora that this is why he should go to Paterson—so that when he graduates, he can be a nurse like her and work with special-needs kids and horses.
- In other words, Paterson = better choice. But he'll work in the law firm so he can go back there in the fall.
- Aurora jumps straight to registering him for Oak Ridge, but Marcelo tells her again that she's wasting her time, even though nobody's listening.
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