Sandra Cisneros Only Daughter Thesis

Celaya’s story begins one summer in Mexico when she is just a little girl, but soon her girlhood experiences segue back in time—to before Celaya was born—to her grandparents’ history.Celaya traces the Awful Grandmother’s lonely and unhappy childhood in a Mexico ravaged by the Mexican Revolution of 1911, her meeting and ultimate union with Celaya’s grandfather, Narciso Reyes (the Little Grandfather), and the birth of their first and favorite son, Celaya’s father, Inocencio.

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This is one of those novels that blithely leap across the border between literary and popular fiction.” —The New York Times Book Review Sandra Cisneros, the award-winning author of the highly acclaimed The House on Mango Street and several other esteemed works, has produced a stunning new novel, Caramelo.

Is it necessary for an immigrant to lose something of his or her original culture in order to assimilate into a new culture and, once assimilated, are the old ways lost for good? Is the relationship between Zoila and Toto equally strong? How can mothers and daughters, such as Aunty Light-Skin and the Awful Grandmother, or Celaya and Zoila, successfully relate to each other in the face of such strong mother-son relationships? And when things seem to have reached a low point in her life, she proclaims, “Celaya. How do such stylistic devices reinforce the themes of the novel? Internationally acclaimed for her poetry and fiction, she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lannan Literary Award and the American Book Award, and of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mac Arthur Foundation.

Does being “American” mean something different for the first generation of immigrants such as Inocencio than for the American-born Zoila or their daughter, the American-born Celaya? If I caught my ex with his ‘other’ I’d stab them both with a kitchen fork. Is the favoritism these mothers show for their sons unique to Mexican culture? Cisneros is the author of numerous books, including a children’s book, Hairs/Pelitos. Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude; Cormac Mc Carthy, All the Pretty Horses; Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children; Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer; Alex Haley, Roots; James A.This long-anticipated novel is an all-embracing epic of family history, Mexican history, the immigrant experience, and a young Mexican-American woman’s road to adulthood.We hope the following introduction, discussion questions, suggested reading list, and author biography enhance your group’s reading of this captivating and masterful literary work.Is the reader to believe that Caramelo is just a “different kind of lie” [p. For example, Cisneros uses the same sentence—“And it was good and joyous and blessed”—to describe Grandmother’s first sexual encounter with Narciso [p. As our narrator informs us: “Because a life contains a multitude of stories and not a single strand explains precisely the who of who one is, we have to examine the complicated loops that allowed Regina to become la Señora Reyes” [p. Does this nonlinear plot structure support the assertion that family and history are without beginning, middle, or end, but are, rather, a “pattern” [p. In other words, since the reader probably read the story before the chronology, how do the fictional family events illuminate the factual chronology of United States and Mexican history?Is Caramelo like or different from other historical fictions, such as Alex Haley’s Roots, with which the reader might be familiar? The theme expressed in the following statement is reemphasized throughout the novel: “We are all born with our destiny.350], ultimately come to feel that she’s “turned into her. How are the two countries portrayed in Caramelo on both political and social levels? Why might Cisneros have juxtaposed these two chapters?Celaya observes that “[e]veryone in Chicago lived with an idea of being superior to someone else, and they did not, if they could help it, live on the same block without of lot of readjustments, of exceptions made for the people they know by name instead of as ‘those so-and so’s’” [p. Is this different or similar to how people from different classes or ethnicities (such as the Indians) in Mexico City treat or view each other? The Reyes family members move fluidly throughout the book between Mexico and the United States. Cisneros employs elaborate and vivid food metaphors, such as “Regina was like the papaya slices she sold with lemon and a dash of chile; you could not help but want to take a little taste” [p. Celaya also sets up family mysteries and delays solving them until much later in the novel.How do the changes in immigration reflect the changes in the relationship between the countries? Does this code of morality reflect a more Mexican, more American, or a Mexican-American way of thinking? Sentenced to my life for however long God feels like laughing” [p. What attitude does Celaya have toward her own life? Is Inocencio right that the family portrayed in Caramelo appears “shameless,” as he cautions Celaya [p. If not, how might one describe the family portrayed in Caramelo? How does Caramelo push the stylistic boundaries of a traditional novel?How does Caramelo reflect the immigrant experience generally for the middle part of the twentieth century, and how have changes within the United States both socially and politically affected the contemporary immigrant experience? For the Reyes family members who immigrate to the United States, which elements of Mexico are preserved in America and which are lost in the process of assimilation? What cultural differences between Mexicans and Americans does Aunty Light-Skin’s proclamation illustrate? “There is nothing Mexican men revere more than their mamas; they are the most devoted of sons perhaps because their mamas are the most devoted of mamas…when it comes to their boys” [p. What explains the strength of the relationship between Inocencio and the Awful Grandmother? Does the author’s use of footnotes; different voices; repetition; Spanish language, songs, and poetry; as well as other stylistic devices alter the definitions of form and structure?While each character can claim equal footing in the Reyes web of family and history, each holds a role of differing significance in Celaya’s personal odyssey of connecting to her roots and carving her future. From the novel’s opening epigraph—“Tell me a story, even it it’s a lie”—to its end, the relationship between truth, lies, history, and storytelling is an important theme. Celaya seems to find her own voice and point of view in Chapter 59.Posits Celaya, “Did I dream it or did someone tell me the story? What does the author achieve by shifting the viewpoint from character to character?


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