English 1127, Mark Baker
Fraternity life at Michigan State University in Grand Rapids receives the responsibility for the death of Hector Campos Junior. Ultimately, Campos desperately yearns to be accepted as a part of Phi Epsilon that he swears that he’d “kill himself” (616). This promise of death, if not accepted by Phi Epsilon, shows that the fraternity life and high standards it holds makes Hector feel inferior. Taking his chances with fatality to prove his loyalty and commitment to the fraternity encourages Campos to face detrimental situations. According to Sweet, William I. Thomas found that fraternities and colleges refrain from using realistic terms to define negative situations. Events that involve death or injury with fraternity members are not labeled or associated with terms such as hazing, beating or abusing. Instead, the actions portray a positive image by using terms such as tradition, character-building and commitment (8). Thus, when Phi Epsilon leaves Campos on his back with the possibility to puke, choke and die after nights of heavy drinking, it can be perceived as a fraternity life norm. Yet, the expectation to come “trailing back” (624) to them still exists as an obligation as a pledge member. Sliding down the trash chute into the Dumpster by a drunken pledge or active member at the Phi Ep house has been done several times without injury. Therefore, Campos facing his death after one of his drunken fraternity brothers pushes him into a trash chute can be simply overlooked as being part of tradition.
Absorption in the fraternity life causes Hector’s inability to establish true relationships which contributes to his death. The trash coming out of his mouth in the perspective of his dorm-mates comes back to him when he remains dead in the landfill with his mouth “filled with trash” (607). Between Hector’s dorm-mates he persists to talk about his “own interests” — hanging with pledges, parties and girls — which seemed to revolve around the fraternity to such a degree that it left them uninterested. After pledging, Campos comes back to the dorm really late, stumbles around “drunk like an asshole” and makes a mess by “pissing on the toilet seat and the floor” (622). The disrespect and disregard Hector has towards his dorm-mates makes them disgusted at the idea of people assuming that they have any part association with Hector. If he was able to create a genuine relationship with his dorm-mates, they would have been concerned when he went missing during one weekend and could have possibly saved him from his death. Likewise, the Phi Epsilon members did not establish a true relationship with Hector. Only being accepted in the fraternity to fill out the membership of seventeen pledges, a forced relationship between the unwanted pledge and existing members had to be made. When Campos falls and slowly begins to