Short Story: Assembly Line by B. Traven B. No one is sure who the actual author was. Winthrop of New York was on vacation in the Republic of Mexico. Therefore, he considered it his duty as a good American citizen to do his part in correcting this oversight. In search for opportunities to indulge in his new avocation, he left the beaten track and ventured into regions not especially mentioned, and hence not recommended, by travel agents to foreign tourists.
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Next skip Assembly Line B. Traven Mr E. Winthrop of New York was on vacation in the Republic of Mexico. Therefore he considered it his duty as a good American citizen to play his part in correcting this oversight. In search of opportunities to indulge in his new avocation, he left the beaten track and ventured into regions not especially mentioned, and hence not recommended, by travel agents to foreign tourists. So it happened that one day he found himself in a little, quaint Indian village somewhere in the State of Oaxaca.
Walking along the dusty main street of this pueblocito, which knew nothing a pavements, drainage, plumbing, or of any means of artificial light save candles or pine splinters, he met with an Indian squatting on the earthen-floor front porch of a palm hut, a so-called jacalito. The Indian was busy making little baskets from bast and from all kinds of fibres gathered by him in the immense tropical bush which surrounded the village on all sides.
The material used had not only been well prepared for its purpose but was also richly coloured with dyes that the basket-maker himself extracted from various native plants, barks, roots and from certain insects by a process known only to him and the members of his family.
His principal business, however, was not producing baskets. He was a peasant who lived on what the small property he possessed - less than fifteen acres of not too fertile soil - would yield, after much sweat and labour and after constantly worrying over the most wanted and best suited distribution of rain sunshine and wind and the changing balance of birds and insects beneficial or harmful to his crops.
Baskets he made when there was nothing else for him to do in the fields, because he was unable to dawdle. After all the sale of his baskets, though to a rather limited degree only, added to the small income he received from his little farm. In spite of being by profession just a plain peasant, it was clearly seen from the small baskets he made that at heart he was an artist, a true and accomplished artist. Each basket looked as if covered all over with the most beautiful sometimes fantastic ornaments, flowers, butterflies, birds, squirrels, antelopes, tigers and a score of other animals of the wilds.
Yet, the most amazing thing was that these decorations, all of them symphonies of colour, were not painted on the baskets but were instead actually part of the baskets themselves. Bast and fibres dyed in dozens of different colours were so cleverly - one must actually say intrinsically - interwoven that those attractive designs appeared on.
B. Traven: Realist and Prophet
Traven was very sympathetic to the Jesus of the Gospel. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. North American Congress on Latin America. Google Scholar Baumann, Michael L. Traven: An Introduction. Google Scholar Carlyle, Thomas. Past and Present.
Short Story: Assembly Line
Each basket requires painstaking labor. He dries the bast and fiber in specific ways. He finds quality plants and insects to create the richly-colored days. He then weaves stunning pictures into the basket. Traveling through remote parts of Mexico, he encounters the Indian selling his baskets and purchases a few of them to take back with him. Winthrop knows that the Indian sells one basket at the village for half of a peso, and so he thinks that for a bulk order the Indian would sell even lower.