The 1957 recipient of the Chilean National Prize for Literature, Manuel Rojas was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1896. Before he began writing poems, short stories, and novels, Rojas worked as a manual laborer throughout Argentina and Chile. Later in his life, Rojas worked as a linotype operator, journalist, head of the University of Chile Press, and a professor of Chilean and American Literature.
In “The Glass of Milk,” Rojas explores his common themes of poverty and need, centered on the working class. The story follows an out-of-work young man in a port as he searches for food while nearly starving to death. Questions raised by the story include: How do we recognize need? Is it necessary to ask for help to receive help?
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Originally published in Rojas' 1927 story collection, Hombres del Sur (The Men of the South)