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When I Was Puerto Rican Summaries?

Autor:   •  January 6, 2019  •  Creative Writing  •  2,642 Words (11 Pages)  •  673 Views

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When I was Puerto Rican Summaries


Chapter 1: Jíbara

The chapter begins with Esmeralda Santiago being four years old and narrating moving into her new zinc house in Macún. Negi, which was her nickname, narrates the conditions she went through as the oldest child moving into this house which she described as a giant version of lard cans used in public fountains. When she touched the walls for the first time, she burned herself and her mother while scolding her, rubbed Vick’s on her fingers. She explains how her mother always treated her harshly because she was the oldest child. Esmeralda managed to work with her father, Pablo helping him with the house. Because of the bad conditions of the floor, her father decides to rip the whole floor out, making the house have a dirt floor for the time being. While helping Pablo with some boards Negi was bitten by termites. Her mother desperately pulled off her clothes and bathed her so she was sure to get all the bites. Esmeralda believes she has been punished because she disobeyed her mom. She tells that the children slept in hammocks and narrates how the next morning she was full of red spots because of the bites. That morning, she explains the thought of wanting to be a jíbara but her mother said she couldn't because she was born in the city. Esmeralda begins to describe her sisters and finds out her name isn’t really Negi but Esmeralda. Her mother, Ramona explains the origin of her name, the origin of her nickname and what it meant, and how she also Ramona also has a nickname. After, came the day her father was supposed to put the new floor. Negi and Delsa were scolded by her mother because they went to play with the hen and scared her. She narrates how her father was almost never around because he was either working in the house or disappeared for sometime. He left for work at dawn and came home after dusk. That morning she tells Negi she was going to have a baby and the were supposed to start with Doña Zena. The chapter ends on Esmeralda thinking how is she going to feel with a new baby in the house.

Chapter 12: You Don’t Want to Know

Francisco is rushed to the hospital because of a stomach ache and is diagnosed with cancer. Everyday he is visited by his wife, Ramona, Esmeralda’s mom who went straight from work to the hospital. The family moved for the fourth time in one year to a bigger apartment so Tata could take care of them. He was always in or out of the hospital. At the house, his room was respected and space was given for him so he would feel comfortable and better. Another baby was born in March named Franky, Francisco was the father. He used to lay with baby Franky and sang him songs in a soft voice. Francisco’s family had issues with Negi’s family. Francisco was at the hospital again. This time Negi visits him and describes how he has gotten worse and his physical appearance has changed. Francisco tells Ramona how he saw an angel, Ramona told him to not speak of such nonsense. When she got to her house she told Tata and started to cry. Few days later he was released from the hospital to his parents house and died the next day. Her mom spent days crying and Tata took care of Franky so that she could rest. Ramona spent a year or so mourning by lighting candles. Daddy issues started to happen when Negi found out that her father, who was writing her constantly, had another family and she rejected him as a father causing a blaming game with her and her parents. Esmeralda was hurt and decided to no longer speak to her dad. On mornings her mother left to catch the subway to work and was proud of her effort. She explained her kids that she was working for them to become professionals. The kids tried very hard to do their best. Tata's brother Chico, who spent a lot of time at the house, was a man who could hold his liquor, a man who behaves even though he drank all the time. That all changed when he then started to ask Negi to take her blouse off one time. Then Chico started to touch her. Negi's mom took her out often because she spoke english and was very helpful at public assistance. Later on, her mother gets mad and worried because Esmeralda came home late and ends up having an argument which leads to Ramona slapping her daughter, but before Ramona hit Negi, she grabbed her by the wrist surprising both her and her mother of how she was growing up. Ramona never hit her again afterwards. Living in Brooklyn meant that they would spend most of their time inside because it was very dangerous to live there. One day, Don Julio was jumped in the same subway station her mother took everyday, which made Esmeralda paranoid and made her sit waiting for her everyday. When Ramona didn’t came home on time, Esmeralda’s mind thought about the images and news she saw many times. Her mother was also paranoid and that led to letting the kids outside only when she could watch them and occasionally she would let Esmeralda take off on a Saturday afternoon.

Chapter 2: Fighting Naked

Esmeralda says that even before Hector was born her parents argued. After he was born the problems and arguments in the house start to get often and very serious. Pablo when into town looking into plans for the new. He left for work and didn’t return home for days. The night when he appeared, he kissed them hello and when straight into hammering the walls. That night, when they laid in bed, Negi’s mom accused Pablo of cheating on her because he hasn’t given her money for groceries and she assumes that he is waisting his money on women. They got into a really big fight that let to Monín, Esmeralda’s mom, to toss all of his clothes out the door and pour water all over them. Negi’s mom was so mad and sat in her rocking chair crying for hours. Another day, while her parents were arguing, Esmeralda found that she have a sister a year older named Margie who first lived in Santurce but then moved to New York. Esmeralda’s mom was so mad to even hear about Margie or her mom, so they stopped talking about her. Negi believes that all men are “sinverguenzas” because she often hears her mother talk about how her dad has misbehaved


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