Asti's AP Lit & Comp 2018-2019 discussion

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Dreaming in Cuban > Question 1: The Past

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message 1: by Mrs. Asti (last edited Jul 02, 2018 04:34AM) (new)

Mrs. Asti | 6 comments Mod
In many works of literature, past events can affect, positively or negatively, the present actions, attitudes, or values of a character. Choose a character from Cristina Garcia's novel, DREAMING IN CUBAN, who must contend with some aspect of the past, either personal or societal. Then write an response in which you show how the character’s relationship to the past contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.

Respond to this post using the comment link below. At the top of your post, please include your first and last name.


message 2: by Adriana (new)

Adriana Zubizarreta | 12 comments Adriana Zubizarreta
A character who personally struggled with the past would have to be Felicia del Pino. Felicia struggled with an illness that made her sort of crazy, and forgetful. For example, towards the end of the novel, Felicia had no recognition of a man she practically married and lived within which she then killed, but the past continued to give her flashbacks so she can remember who she really is, what she has done to her past husbands and family, and where she came from. Felicia’s relationship to the past contributed to the story because it went hand in hand with how she had been diagnosed with a mental illness, and it also explains her actions which were paranoia, her anger, and the “signs” she looked for.


message 3: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 8 comments Amanda Barbon
Lourdes’ past interferes with her relationship with Pilar. Everything that Lourdes critiques her daughter on is based on what Lourdes experienced when she was young. Since Lourdes didn’t have the best relationship with her mother, it would be highly expected that she would try her very best to have a great relationship with her daughter. Let Pilar experience what she didn’t have with her own mother. However, their relationship is basically the same as Lourdes’ and Celia’s relationship. On page 168 of Dreaming in Cuban, we are informed that Pilar is away at art school in Rhode Island, Lourdes immediately thinks that Pilar is looking for danger and trouble. Instead of thinking the best for her daughter, she thinks the worst. Lourdes goes ahead and compares her old self to Pilar (Lourdes being the pure, innocent one). Lourdes doesn’t have respect for mother, this leads her to always comparing Pilar to Celia, that they are “disdainful of rules, of religion, of everything meaningful. Neither of them show respect for anyone, least of all themselves.”(page. 168) Lourdes tends to always compare Pilar to everything negative and doesn’t express her love to her, but then she wonders why Pilar doesn’t respect or show her love. Throughout the entire novel, their relationship has been one of the key factors that the audience can relate to or have sympathy for. Having hope that they were going to be able to resolve their problems and come as one were turned down at the ending.


message 4: by Adriana (last edited Aug 05, 2018 05:51PM) (new)

Adriana Zubizarreta | 12 comments Amanda wrote: "Amanda Barbon
Lourdes’ past interferes with her relationship with Pilar. Everything that Lourdes critiques her daughter on is based on what Lourdes experienced when she was young. Since Lourdes did..."


Adriana Zubizarreta's response
I completely agree with Amanda. Lourdes definitely lets her past interfere with the relationship that she had with her daughter, and Pilar may or may not have dreaded her a little bit for that or thought she was crazy. She always thought Pilar was up to no good, no matter what it would be, and that explains why Pilar and Celia got along so well, because of how alike their personalities were.


message 5: by Sadie (new)

Sadie G | 12 comments Sadie Garcia-Praslin
In Christina Garcia’s novel, “Dreaming in Cuban”, Celia must often deal with her personal past which relates to the novel's development of relationships. Celia and Lourdes have a complicated relationship. The reason being that Lourdes was born in a strained relationship in which her father Jorge, who was jealous of Celia’s relationship with her ex-lover Gustavo, purposely left Celia with his crazy mother and sister with the hope of breaking her spirit. When Jorge returns from his business trips he finds that Celia refuses to accept her role as a mother and hands Lourdes to Jorge like an object. This causes Jorge to send Celia to a mental asylum and to raise Lourdes by himself thus favoring her and saving her from Celia’s indifference. Thus, growing up Lourdes harbored a deep hatred for her mother’s rejection. As an adult, Lourdes continues to resent her mother by disagreeing with Celia’s love for El Lider and by showing off her successful bakery treats, delicacies not available in Cuba because of shortages. Ultimately, though Lourdes can never forgive her mother despite the truth revealed by her father about the cause of Celia’s illness, Lourdes and Celia want the same thing, for their stories to be remembered by their families.


message 6: by Sadie (new)

Sadie G | 12 comments Adriana wrote: "Adriana Zubizarreta
A character who personally struggled with the past would have to be Felicia del Pino. Felicia struggled with an illness that made her sort of crazy, and forgetful. For example,..."


Sadie Garcia-Praslin's Response
I agree with Adriana's opinion on how Felicia's illness interfered with her relationships. Not only did her illness affect her romantic relationships but also her relationship with her children Luz, Milagro, and Ivanito. In order to protect themselves from the pain of their mother's insanity, Luz and Milagro decided that to survive they had to rely on each other. This included excluding Ivanito from their bond, for clinging to their insane mother.


message 7: by Andres (new)

Andres Alfaro | 7 comments Andres Alfaro
In the novel, the character of Lourdes struggled a lot with her past. In page 50, Celia writes to Gustavo, “The baby is porous. She has no shadow. The earth in its hunger has consumed it.” This shows that Celia in a way denies the reality or existence of her daughter Lourdes. Celia’s denial of her daughter’s reality leads to Lourdes being more attached to her father. Then during the Cuban revolution, Lourdes was raped by a Cuban soldier and lost her second child. All of these things that happened to her in the past shaped her view of her mother, Cuba, and communism. In page 73 it says, “She wants no part of Cuba, no part of its wretched carnival floats creaking with lies, no part of Cuba at all…” Her past contributes to the novel because it explains why she is the black sheep of the family, why she has complicated family relationships, and why she disagrees with her mother politically. In other words, she helps build the theme of exile in the novel.


IsabellaVandamas | 6 comments I Believe that the character in the novel that affected most of the other characters was Celia’s husband Jorge, His death affected the whole family causing them to each morn in there own ways . However The character who was the most ruined and effected from this was Felicia , she turned to the religion of Santeria to help her morn. She originally joined because of her friend and returned after the death of her husband Otto Cruz , proven in the novel when her friend says “ she returned with a great eagerness after her disappearance in 1978 she showed up at my house one day slim and tanned.” (Pg 185). Felicia needed something to run back to after a hard life of death and mental sickness and she thought she would find it in this religion. Eventually after Felicia’s coronation she grew physically ill and was slowly dying . I believe that with the death of her father she drove her self in to mental illness and after that her life went down hill trying to find sympathy somewhere Turing to religion however where she found it eventually took her to her death.


message 9: by Felix (new)

Felix Ramirez | 12 comments Felix D. Ramirez
A character who must contend with their past is Celia del Pino. Celia struggled with the abandonment of her true lover Gustavo. This loss stayed with her for the entirety of her life. Even after marrying Jorge Celia kept wearing the earrings of her first love Gustavo as a way of always having him with her. These actions cause her actual husband Jorge to become jealous thus driving him to try and break her spirit by leaving her with his mom and sister. His plan did not break her will but instead broke the mother daughter relationship that could of been between Lourdes and Celia. This caused Celia to not see Lourdes as her daughter but instead an object as stated by "and so hands Lourdes, like an object to her father. Celia's past and her dwelling of it caused a tear in her family which not only changed Jorge but also forced Lourdes to grow up basically motherless. These actions set the story in progress because it shows why each character acts the way they do.


message 10: by Felix (last edited Aug 20, 2018 04:17PM) (new)

Felix Ramirez | 12 comments Sadie wrote: "Sadie Garcia-Praslin
In Christina Garcia’s novel, “Dreaming in Cuban”, Celia must often deal with her personal past which relates to the novel's development of relationships. Celia and Lourdes have..."


Felix D. Ramirez
I agree with Sadie on the fact that Celia's past developed the stance of everyone in the novel and the feelings they have towards one another. The path that Celia chose left Jorge feeling unloved and her daughter Lourdes motherless. This caused the resentment that Lourdes has towards her mother because Celia never showed her any love. This is also a main reason as to why Lourdes is not exactly excited to visit Cuba again because of her past there.


message 11: by ChedMichael (new)

ChedMichael Barreto | 8 comments Andres wrote: "Andres Alfaro
In the novel, the character of Lourdes struggled a lot with her past. In page 50, Celia writes to Gustavo, “The baby is porous. She has no shadow. The earth in its hunger has consumed..."


ChedMichael Barreto

Of course, Lourdes's past, similar to other characters in the book, was brutal and it explains how it was able to shape her future. To be honest, her past may have been as worse as the other characters, especially when her mother decided to completely reject her. That is why the way Lourdes raised Pilar did not go so well since her mother did not set a good example for her. Not to mention, her most tragic memory of losing her second child to a rapist, makes Lourdes a perfect representation of "tough luck" and "suffering."


message 12: by ChedMichael (new)

ChedMichael Barreto | 8 comments ChedMichael Barreto

Luz and Milagro were among the characters from the novel that experienced a tragic past. The way they behave and are mentally shaped in the future are to be conducted by their mother Felicia. Her mental illness has caused a downhill relationship with her daughters. It all started when the twins witnessed their mother set their father's face on fire. This caused them not to have a father-figure presence for nine years after their father left Felicia for good. Then, there was another time on the twin's birthday, in which Felicia thought it was a bright idea to fill a pinata with eggs. Heavily embarrassed as their classmate's parents appear to be "stunned" with the yolk on their children, the twins reacted as they," picked bits of shell from their hair, looked at each other, and cried"(page 122). All in all, Luz and Milagro are fearful of their mother's behavior and presence. The twins are acting as if they are not avoiding a human, but a monster. Their concern of other people's safety around their mother has even caused them to warn their little brother, Ivanito. Though, his unconditional loyalty to his mother labels him as a "gullible rag doll" (page 122). Luz and Milagro's experience can relate to other characters', such as Lourdes and Pilar, because they have suffered in the past. Suffering is what many of the characters in the novel go through during their lifetimes, as they are being shaped into what they are as individuals.


message 13: by Melina (new)

Melina Caballero | 12 comments Melina Caballero
In Dreaming in Cuban, the character Lourdes del Pino's past interferes with many of her relationships in her life. Lourdes and her mother, Celia, didn't have the best relationship. Unfortunately, Lourdes was born around the time when her father, Jorge, had left Celia at his mother and sister's house as a punishment because Celia had a lover before him, named Gustavo. When Jorge came back, he had succeeded in his plan and now Celia isn't fit to be a mother. While handling baby Lourdes like a rag doll, she told Jorge, "I will not remember her name" (page 43). This stayed with Lourdes into her adult years. She resented her mother for years, and this strained her relationship with her own daughter Pilar. Pilar would go up against her mother many times because of the way Lourdes didn't respect her. Lourdes would invade her privacy and never agree with Pilar's decisions, which is why Pilar would be rebellious. This may have been because Lourdes didn't have that motherly figure in her life to show her how it's done. Family is a big theme in the novel, and through the strained relationships Lourdes has with her mother and daughter, it is shown.


message 14: by Melina (new)

Melina Caballero | 12 comments ChedMichael wrote: "ChedMichael Barreto

Luz and Milagro were among the characters from the novel that experienced a tragic past. The way they behave and are mentally shaped in the future are to be conducted by their ..."


Melina Caballero
I agree with you here. Luz and Milagro experienced a horrible past. Their mother was literally insane and all they had was each other, since their brother was too close to their mother. Then when they found their father again in that hotel room with the woman, it felt as history had repeated itself. The twins and also Ivanito could be considered as the ones who suffered the most from their past throughout the story.


message 15: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan B. | 12 comments Jonathan Bejarano
In Dreaming in Cuban, Celia's relationship with her past greatly impacts and contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole. Celia's relationship with her mother and her husband in the past are one of the biggest contributions to the story. Her mother sent her to live somewhere else without her, mother's play a vital role in a child's stage of growth. If Celia had a mother, things could've been different, Celia could've learned things sooner, affecting her life decisions. Everything could've been different if she had grown up with her mother. As for her husband, he sent her to an asylum! This greatly impacted Celia's personality and who she is, causing her to be the way she is with her children. Without the asylum, she could've been more caring for her children and greatly affect their lives. Celia even believed that "The baby is porous. She has no shadow. The earth in its hunger has consumed it,"(page 50). She didn't care for her child, her past with her mother and the asylum incident is the reason for this.


message 16: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan B. | 12 comments Andres wrote: "Andres Alfaro
In the novel, the character of Lourdes struggled a lot with her past. In page 50, Celia writes to Gustavo, “The baby is porous. She has no shadow. The earth in its hunger has consumed..."


Jonathan Bejarano
I agree with Andres on his reasons why Lourdes's past impacted the book and the theme. Lourdes had a horrific past, it made her into who she is today. Being one of the daughters of Celia, she impacted the family greatly. For example, taking Ivanito from Celia at the end of the book. This scene had great importance in the book as it had hard decision making and betrayal.


message 17: by Paolo (new)

Paolo Soto | 3 comments Many characters have had the past affect their present case, but a character in particular has had the most affect in the story as a whole. Celia De Pino, her first lover and prior relationship made it nearly impossible for her to move on, she was stuck on the fantasy with her Spanish lover and could not fully develop into a true loving relationship with Jorge. Still hurt from her previous lover, Jorge envious of Celia's old lover, used her pain to "finish her off" by leaving her all alone with her unruly and crazy family. This causes her to finally break down and Jorge puts her in asylum this only further affects the mentality of Celia. This does not only affect the relationship between her and her husband, but also that of her daughter, this staggering difference between Celia and her daughter is seen through out the whole book. If it were not due to the loss of her first lover most of the internal conflict would not be accruing.


message 18: by Kamari (new)

Kamari Dawson | 5 comments Kamari Dawson
In the novel “Dreaming In Cuban” by Cristina Garcia, many of the characters suffer in some way, shape, or form. However I feel like Pilar’s suffering is the most interesting. Due to her mother’s upbringing, Pilar is effected by this because she doesn’t have the ideal relationship with Lourdes. I believe this could have been prevented. If Celia had not lost her mind due to her in-laws, then she could have had the strength and mental health she needed to raise her own daughter Lourdes. Unfortunately, the cycle continues with Lourdes in the sense that her mother Celia was not a great mother or role model for her. Everything Lourdes learned about being a mother from Celia was not the best. Therefore it was inevitable that Lourdes would treat her own daughter in horrific ways as seen on page 27. “When Mom first found out about me in the tub, she beat me in the face and pulled my hair out in big clumps. She called me desgraciada...” (page 27). This all stems back to the way Celia raised Lourdes because of her mental issues. It shows how the past effected Pilar.


message 19: by Anabel (new)

Anabel | 12 comments Anabel Guerrero
In Cristina Garcia’s “Dreaming in Cuban” Lourdes’ past with her mother affects her own relationship with her daughter Pilar. Throughout the novel it is revealed how since birth Celia has always rejected to care for Lourdes, “The baby is porous. She has no shadow. The earth in its hunger has consumed it,” (Garcia). This continued throughout her life, until she finally moved to The United States of America with her father. We see from Pilar’s point of view how she is annoyed by Lourdes and even runs away from her. One day Jorge reaches out to his daughter Lourdes and she says “If it’s true that babies learn love from their mother... I will not remember her name,” (Garcia). In this quote Lourdes refers to the saying that babies learn to love from their mothers, but since she did not really have a mother she never learned to love. Since Lourdes never learned, she was not able to teach Pilar. As a whole, Lourdes never really experienced having a loving mother and had no role model to follow when she had her own, affecting her relationship with Pilar negatively.


message 20: by Anabel (new)

Anabel | 12 comments ChedMichael wrote: "ChedMichael Barreto

Luz and Milagro were among the characters from the novel that experienced a tragic past. The way they behave and are mentally shaped in the future are to be conducted by their ..."


I really like how you chose characters that usually would not be one of the first characters to pop into someones head. Reading this I realized how much Luz and Milagro went through with their mother not being mentally sane and having to watch their brother turn into her. As well as being separated from their father, who they experienced get almost murdered by their own mother. I completely agree with you that the twin's past has affected them.


message 21: by Dacia (new)

Dacia (xodacia) | 8 comments Dacia Ochoa

Throughout the entire novel, each of the characters endure their own set of emotional conflicts that result in how they make decisions, think for themselves, and act around other characters. For instance, Lourdes del Pino, Celia's eldest daughter-has overcome circumstances that tend to break a person apart. As a young girl, she had a mother that was in love with someone that wasn't her father, so her mother did not desire the pregnancy. Unfortunately, her father was almost always absent: working-providing for the family. To make matters worse, Lourdes had a strained relationship with her mother: there was a lack of communication between them. Before Lourdes went on to leave Cuba-because of the Cuban revolution, she was raped by a soldier. After the horrendous incident, Lourdes changes, she hermits away. By the time the family moves to Brooklyn, New York: Lourdes is willing to adopt the American culture completely, to forget the past. When Lourdes' father: Jorge dies, Lourdes turns to sex and deserts, instead of talking to her husband and daughter about whats affecting her. Lourdes' character has a lot going on: she has a rebellious teenager and a husband cheating on her, these internal conflicts surrounding her life are occurring because there is a lack of communication between the family, there is also no consideration for each of the kin members whatsoever. Lourdes' past correlates with her decisions in the past and in the future because she struggles to talk to her family about whats bothering her, she adjusts to them on her own instead of relying on her family. The problem isn’t that she’s incredibly independent, the problem is that she doesn’t express her issues with her family, which has led to a daughter that barely knows her mother and how resilient she is. In my opinion, Lourdes del Pino is one of the strongest characters in the novel, despite the absence of love and attachment she had growing up-Lourdes remains optimistic and she has this incredible adaptability, even though internally she’s suffering.


message 22: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Gonzalez | 4 comments Ashley Gonzalez
In the novel written by Cristina Garcia, ‘Dreaming in Cuban’, a character who’s past affected them as a person would be Ivanito Villaverde. On the surface, Ivanito is smart, affectionate, and a great dancer. He ofcoure wouldn’t be his self without the help of his delusional mom, Felicia. Ivanovo experienced all his mother’s odd behavior, by choice. He didn’t want to leave his mother’s side, which really shows how loving and understanding he is. Ivanito experienced a lot of crazy things his mother did, one of them being almost killed by her, when she gave him sleeping pills with ice cream. Although Felicia always thought she was teaching Ivanito lessons by what she would do to him (almost killing him and all that fun stuff), Ivanito never hated her for anything. He wouldn’t be the character he is if he wasn’t so attached to his mom. Their bittersweet relationship turns out to be the shaping of Ivanito’s character, his caring, understanding, and affectionate personality.


message 23: by Kaleb (new)

Kaleb Joseph | 4 comments In the novel a character who struggles with memories in the past would be our main character Celia del Pino. While being in a relationship with her husband Jorge, Celia would frequently write to her past love Gustavo who lives in Spain. After Jorge finds out he sends Celia to an asylum and she'd come back to be worse. Celia would write to Gustavo more and reminisce over their past relationship and she'd discuss how bad she is trying to get over him. Celia even goes to even discussing the vivid imagery of her kissing Jorge just to forget about him.


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