By: Margarita Engle.
the historical context of the novel.
This girl has always stood in the middle of 2 places, as “Mami” is from Cuba and dad Is from America. Her grandparents on her father’s side live in Los Angeles, they don’t really know any Spanish, just English, Russian, and Yiddish. because they were born in Ukraine, somewhere they escaped from because of violence. Overall, the girl has an extremely diverse background making it hard for her to decide where exactly she belongs.
Kids who are multi-cultured often find themselves in a battle to figure out who they truly are within. This girl loves Cuba so dearly, but on the other hand, loves America as well. Although we, later on, read that she has a stronger liking towards Cuba, we still see that she struggles within about where she belongs. For example, when she says “one of my two selves is left behind”(p.25) We can tell that when returning to her “normal” life in California she emphasizes that part of her is still in Cuba. “Sometimes, I feel like a rolling wave of the sea, a wave that can only belong in between”(P.34) This was really powerful because not only does it show that the girl feels like she’s being torn into 2. A lot of us can relate to it. A lot of us can also relate to being born in one place, and growing up there, but having parents from somewhere else.