“Flood” by Daniel Alarcón focuses on a town that is “flooded” with gang conflicts an the gangs determine the townspeople’s fate. The child narrator and the rest of the children in “Flood” are paradoxical to the usual portrayal of children. In “Flood” the children clearly have the “young gangster” in them. Whether the characters recognize themselves as gang members or innocent civilians, the gangs and their ongoing conflict and disagreements rule part of the characters everyday lives. So, the setting of “Flood” has a large influence and authority over the character’s lives.
The drama takes place in Peru, in an underprivileged town. We quickly learn that from a young age the children are aware that avoiding gang involvement, or the “University” is almost impossible and that is why they “[call] it the University because it’s where you [go] when you [finish] high school” (Alarcón 93). The characters know being involved in some type of gang related activity is their fate. However, we are shocked when we find out that the term “University” is used to symbolize jail, since it is the complete opposite of the generally accepted definition of the term. Clearly, the gangs restrain the children’s futures and the gangs control the children’s fate.
Further, in “More than 86% of Peruvians Feel Unsafe” by Marguerite Cawley, he highlights different features of how Peru struggles with the conflicts of street gangs, and the side effects these conflicts have upon the people. Cawley points out that the people of Peru live in apprehension, and gangs maintain control using fear. An example of the gang controlling the future of the civilians is prominent through Lucas, Renan’s older brother, who is in jail for assault. Even though Luca succeeds at getting away from the gang conflicts by joining the army, he is drawn into the conflict when he comes back to town: there is no way to escape it. Also, the narrator knows that if he does not join the army, he will end up in the “University.” Another example of fear being used throughout the story is when the children are treated harshly and threatened by the police and then taken to jail: “I [hear] him get hit but I [don’t] look: it [is] like the sound of wood cracking. They [throw] him back in, the side of his face swollen and red;” here the reader recognizes how the town is manipulated with fear and how even the police are involved in implementing this fear, even if it means physically mishandling the children. (Alarcón 95.)
The gang rivalry that is witnessed in Peru is also familiar in the United States where the children are likewise affected. James F. Pastor writes about the various ways gangs negatively influence children and how gangs can undoubtedly damage children’s future in his article “Gangs in America A Deadly Game.” Additionally, Pastor explains the transition a child goes through while growing up in a gang community: “Before the young player knows it, he is growing up too soon, trapped in a...