Study Questions for the "Dreams of a Better
- On page 190 - 191, Esmeralda described a new item in their home in
Sabana Grande that can almost be called "American Invasion"
again. What was it?
- On page 192 - 193, Esmeralda recalled one incident when she accidentally
stumbled into her parents's room and found them making love. But she
recalled it fondly, in a non-erotic manner. Why did she tell us this
secret in her life?
- Papi and Mami started a business--a cafetin ambulante, a small
truck with compartments and shelves in the back, a refrigerated section,
and a hot plate. Can you analyze why their venture failed?
- Who were Mariana, Sofia, Armando and Ricardo? How did they influence
Esmeralda's developing notion of love, romance and sexuality?
- Who was Johannes Velez? How did he influence Esmeralda's developing
notion of love, romance and sexuality?
- Why did Esmeralda mention gardenia? (p. 198 - 199) How did gardenia
influence Esmeralda's developing notion of love, romance and sexuality?
- "I wanted to dance to this music in my head, but when I took
a step, I tumbled into the creek with a wild splash.... I fought the
sucking mud and crawled out like some pre-historic creature from an
ancient lagoon." Where did this selection come from? Explain the
context of the incident.
- Who was the man who "came out of the house where 'una genta
rica' lived, his eyes shaded by a straw sombrero?" (p. 202
- 204) How did this man influence Esmeralda's developing notion of love,
romance and sexuality?
- Study the following selection carefully:
"'Nothing's fair. Life's not fair!' I wailed in a fresh fit of
tears. [Mami] sat next to me on the steps and draped her ams around
me. Her body jiggled, and when I looked up, tears streamed down her
cheeks, but her mouth was curled into a smile that she was trying to
conceal.... We sat on the steps holding each other, laughing and crying
at nothing." (p. 205)
What were they laughing and crying over?
- On p. 206 - 208, Esmeralda witnessed her parents' fierce fight--"I
... watched them injure each and other without touching each other."
(p. 207) How did she feel about their conflict?
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