Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Prayer, a Candle, and a Notebook

Growing Up Thematic:
“But Spanish has entered my brain, unlocking memories, making me take one of my trips backs to my childhood in New Jersey and our first year in this country.” (Pg. 21, Paragraph 1)
18c. Experiencing biculturalism, bilingualism
“Keeping track of my thoughts in a journal is a habit I acquired as a teenager experiencing the conflicts and loneliness of Puerto Rican immigrant life in the sixties.” (Pg. 21, Paragraph 2)
3. Family dynamics

“My father died with many things unspoken between us.” (Pg. 22, Paragraph 2)
15. Experiencing life-changing turning points

“I attended a school with he driven and overachieving offspring of Nazi camp survivors and also alongside the children of Irish and Italian immigrants.” (Pg. 24, Paragraph 2)
4. The need to belong: community/peer pressure to “fit in”

“In our apartment, especially during the hours that my father was not here, my mother followed certain rituals that got her through each day.” (Pg. 27, Paragraph 2)
8. Cultural and family customs and traditions

Memoir Questions

4A.         The chapter is mainly about Judith’s relationship with her parents, her parents’ relationship with one another, and their reason why they moved to New Jersey.

4B.          Judith did not have a close relationship with her father because of his strict requirements and expectations. Once he passes away, Judith clearly states that she was left with many things unsaid. Judith had a close relationship with her mother because her mother was always home and did not have many acquaintances or responsibilities to take care of. Judith’s parents often argued due to her father forcing her mother to move to and stay in New Jersey while her entire family is in Puerto Rico. Judith and her mother also had a challenging time to get comfortable in New Hersey because it did not consist of traditions they were used to following in Puerto Rico.

4C.          Judith’s relationship with her parents and her parents’ relationship with one another is very important to Judith because it contributes to who Judith will become and to the parent Judith will attempt to accomplish. “Twice a month I talk on the telephone with my mother, who lives in Puerto Rico. Today, after our usual exchange of news about people on the Island whom I barely remember and people in my life she has never met, I try to concentrate on writing in my notebook. But Spanish has entered my brain, unlocking memories, making me take on of my trips back to my childhood in New Jersey and our first years in this country. I get my notebook om my dresser and settle down on the couch next to my textbooks and papers, which represent my real life now as an English professor at a southern university” (pg.20, paragraph 2). Without Judith’s father’s determination to stay in New Jersey and keep his job to give his children the education they need to succeed, Judith would not have the place she lives now or her position as a professor. However, she still has the close support of her mother to stay close with her immediate family. “He (Judith’s father) was an intellectual who did not go to college, a dreamer without hope, an artist without a medium. So I went to college. I became a teacher and later a writer. I had to finish what he had never even begun at the time of his death” (pg.22, paragraph 2). Judith states that she accepted the education to continue the lives that her father was never given. She stayed in school to make sure all the hard work her parents had to endure was worth something more than just surviving a community.

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