Analysis of The Madonnas of Echo Park

Identify a theme that runs through the book and formulate an assertive and narrow thesis statement in response to it. You should take a close look at WHY Brando Sky horse uses repetition, imagery, language, and character traits in his story. What strategies does he use? Why? Why is he concerned with certain repeated obsessions (the jacaranda tree, for example)? How does he build an idea across the different chapters, highlighting the perspectives of different characters? How do his ideas and words interact? What does it all add up to? What do you think one of his recurring images or repeated ideas mean overall?

Remember: it is not enough to identify the places in the novel where you can “relate” to his words or (alternatively) where he falls short in your mind. That sort of evaluation is a necessary step as you go about your analysis, but you ultimately want to treat his text as an idea you are curious about—he gets to be an expert on his own text. Your job is to figure out what he is trying to say and how and why he is saying it. Whether you “agree” or “disagree” with him at any given point along the way is beyond the bounds of this analysis paper…you just need to interpret what he’s doing and teach those insights to your reader.


• free of surface errors
• free of vaguely-worded, general statements
• thinks about strategies that help connect sentences together as you go along (what are your transitions?)
• summarizes MEP but does not just offer descriptions of it
• always asking “so what?” about the points being made
• every time you refer to a detail or quote what a character says in Skyhorse’s book, you stop and offer an explanation to your reader about what you think it means in the world of the book

Here is a list of potential tools you should make use of as you organize your argument about the novel:

the descriptive title (for your essay)
the signal phrase
the summary
the thesis statement
the topic sentences
the supporting pieces evidence / supporting details
the explanation / analysis of evidence
the conclusion (repetition with difference, new piece of evidence, further questions, mic drop)
the use of quotation marks and parenthetical citations to designate where the quotes come from in The Madonnas of Echo Park and proper MLA formatting and documentation



Themes to Consider for Analysis of The Madonnas of Echo Park

Following is a list of possible themes or threads or tropes drawn from MEP. It is not comprehensive but is meant to provide you with some concrete ideas for your analysis of the text. Note that these themes draw from across the entire book, so that you can trace the theme through multiple chapters and characters as you begin to construct an argument about what it means.

pastiche / quilt / “jigsaw pieces”
ocean / lake / pool / water / “drowning”
light / luz
dogs (“wolf”/ “dogstar”)
jacaranda / purple color
blossoms / flowers (jacarandas, sunflowers, roses, lotus)
dreams vs. visions
music / celebrities
Virgin Mary (Guadalupe, Maria, Madonnas)
role of names
generational differences (what changes? what stays the same?)
what is “home”?
what is “family”?
wings (birds, butterflies, angels)
relationships to mothers
“echo park” / echoes
city (neighborhood) as a character itself
magical realism as a genre study
“thief” / idea of “stealing”
crossing “borders”
“mixed” race / “mixed” cultures
role of superstition / mysteries / legends
role of food
role of Christian symbolism
“things people leave behind” / change
study of who dies and why?::
role of institutions::














































































































































Sample Solution