Published in 1991, the short story “Deportation at Breakfast” by Larry Fondation is part of the literary movement we call Postmodernism which defines most of the literature published since the 1960s. Postmodernist works can be recognized through themes, context, and narrative techniques. The themes and context of postmodernist works are often contemporary to the author. In “Deportation at Breakfast”, we notice that the short story explores the theme of illegal immigration in a time contemporary with the author (the 1990s).
In terms of postmodernist narrative techniques, “Deportation at Breakfast” focuses on describing the setting and the events and it does not draw a conclusion, creating a world which seems to lack meaning beyond the superficial. Larry Fondation builds a story in which the deeper meaning of the events is implied and never explicitly stated, and therefore, the readers must observe the characters to understand more about them and their circumstances.
Though "Deportation at Breakfast" was published back in 1991, its main theme of illegal immigration remains relevant today, particularly in relation to the US.
Donald Trump's successful presidential campaign was partly based on his very harsh rhetoric towards illegal immigrants, particularly those from Mexico. In his political speeches, he often tried to paint a picture of them as dangerous criminals who bring drugs across the border and threaten the safety of American citizens in various ways. He even included a wild promise that he would build a wall along the entire Mexican border, to keep illegal immigrants out. Given Trump's political success, a significant number of Americans were seemingly convinced by his rhetoric.
“Deportation at Breakfast” was adapted into a 2002 short film with the same title. We encourage you to watch the short film and observe some of the differences between the short story and the film.
For example, the film includes dialogue between the main character and Javier, a detail which is absent from the story. The end of the film is different from the story and is quite comical and ironic at the same time, as the main character adopts Javier’s movements and dances to Latino music.