Study Questions for the "Mami Gets A Job"
- What caused Mami to go and look for a job outside of the house, which
she had never done before?
- When Mami dressed up for her job in nearby Toa Baja, Esmeralda had
very strong reactions about the way Mami looked (p. 112 - 113). Summarize
Esmeralda's perception in the following chart.
|How Esmeralda described Mami's artificial beauty
||Esmeralda's feelings about Mami's appearance (Your own interpretation)
|"Her feet, usually bare, looked unnatural in high heels"
||Esmeralda prefered the bare-footed Mami to the high-heel look,
because she liked Mami's natural beauty.
- Why did Mami's
decision to work create a stir in the neighborhood? (p. 122)
- Even though Mami
worked long hours outside of the house, she tried her best to make sure
that her children were not neglected. Find evidence in this chapter
to describe her efforts. (p. 113)
- Now, in the 21st
century, what kinds of struggles do working mothers face over the choice
between work and family? Discuss if there are any similarities with
Mami's expereince in the 1950s in Puerto Rico.
- Papi was also busy
at work and away from home, sometimes for months. Did he face the same
kind of pressure. Comment on this issue with your own opinion.
- Esmeralda used
very powerful techniques to describe how she adjusted to life without
Mami at home. The following excerpt describes how she walked to school
in the morning. Refer to the full text on page 113 to 114. Analyze her
"Books pressed against my chest, I strode head down, ... I was
blind and would sometimes get to school anmd not know how ... I'd come
all the way to school with no memory of the journey, my mind a blank
slate on which I would write that day's lesson."
Why did she walk with her head down? Why did she say she was blind?
Why was her mind a blank slate?
- In naive but comical
ways, Esmeralda started to explore her sexuality in this chapter. Find
examples to describe her interests in gender differences
- What kind of rivalry
existed between Esmeralda and her counsin Jenny?
- A tragic accident
happened to Raymond, the youngest child in the Santiago family. Summarize
the events in your own words. (p. 126 - 129)
- In your own judgment, who had the largest share of responsibility
for Raymond's accident? Why?
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