Inocencio: The Benevolent Liar
The first step in solving a problem is admitting that there is one. All is true for Inocencio Reyes, the main character’s father in Cisnero’s novel, Caramelo (2002). Inocencio’s problem is his motivation to be polite to his fellow humans which he fulfills through stretching reality. Now, in nearly every case he only lies to connect with people in order to make them feel happy about meeting him. However, in a few cases Inocencio does lie for his own personal gain.
The first notable falsehood propagated by Inocencio was the condition of the house he had purchased in San Antonio. His excitement and whatever he said to the main character, Celaya’s, mother also caused Celaya to become quite excited about the house. Upon arriving to the fabled house, Celaya recognizes that it is not beautiful house her mind had constructed for her. In fact, the house was in quite a derelict condition. Reduced to a near state of shock, Celaya reacts with, “This is it?” before bursting into tears.
The second form of lying Inocencio engages in is the classic white lie. He uses this form of lying in order to make the person he is conversing with feel better about themselves and better about him. Though these lies are utilized by Inocencio to build his partner in conversation up he is not in any way attempting to make himself he is not in any way attempting to raise his self-esteem, and he probably does gain any self-satisfaction from them. A prime example of this can be found in his dialogue with the son of Major General Frank Cummings on page 309. In this polite exchange, Inocencio gathers information from Mr. Cummings by asking questions about Mr. Cummings life and his father’s life. Then, Inocencio applies what he has learned about Mr. Cummings in claiming that he too shares...