CU: Círculo de lectores

CU: Círculo de
Segundo Semestre 2009
Tortilla Curtain
The Tortilla Curtain is the story of two couples who have nothing in common except the fact that they live in the
same area. Cándido (a divorcee) and América (a young woman) are two Mexicans who have entered the United
States illegally and who are dreaming of the good life in their own little house somewhere in California. Meanwhile,
they are homeless and camping in the Topanga Canyon area of Los Angeles, in the hills above Malibu. Another
couple, Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher, have also recently moved to Topanga, in order to be closer to nature yet be
close enough to the city to enjoy those amenities. Kyra is a successful real estate agent while Delaney keeps house,
looks after Kyra's son by her first marriage and writes a regular column for an environmentalist magazine.
The two couples' paths cross unexpectedly when Cándido is hit and injured by Delaney, who is driving his car along
the suburban roads near his home. For different reasons, each man prefers not to call the police or an ambulance,
and Delaney soothes his conscience by giving Cándido "$20 blood money," explaining to Kyra that "He's a Mexican."
From that moment on, the lifes of the two couples are constantly influenced by the other's.
After the accident, Cándido's problems deepen. With América pregnant, his shame at not being able to get a job and
procure a home and food for his family increases, especially when América decides to find some illegal—and
possibly dangerous—work herself. At one point in the novel, they are forced to go through the trash cans behind a
convenience store so as not to starve.
The Mossbachers are also having problems, though of an altogether different nature. Comfortably settled in their
new home, they are faced with the cruelty of nature when one of their two pet dogs is killed by a coyote. In
addition, the majority of inhabitants of their exclusive estate feel increasingly disturbed and threatened by the
presence of—as they see it—potentially criminal, illegal aliens and vote for a wall to be built around the whole
Cándido has a stroke of luck when he is given a free turkey at a grocery store by another customer, who has just
received it through the store's Thanksgiving promotion. When Cándido starts roasting the bird back in their shelter,
he inadvertently causes a fire which spreads so quickly that even the gated community the Mossbachers live in has
to be evacuated.
In the midst of the escalating disasters, América gives birth to a daughter, whom she suspects might be blind. But
the couple has no money to have little Socorro (Spanish: help) examined by a doctor.
Time and again in the novel, however, it is hinted at that the real perpetrators can be found inside rather than
outside the projected wall: well-to-do people insensitive to the plight of the have-nots; WASP racists afraid of being
overrun by Latinos and of the end of white supremacy; business people employing illegal immigrants to maximise
their own profit without caring for the welfare of those who work for them; and criminals posing as honourable
members of society.
How the Gracia Girls Lost Their
• How the García Girls Lost Their Accents is a 1991 novel written by
Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist Julia Alvarez. Told in
reverse chronological order and narrated from shifting perspectives,
the text possesses distinct qualities of a bildungsroman novel.
Spanning more than thirty years in the lives of four sisters, the story
begins with their adult lives in the United States and ends with their
childhood in the Dominican Republic, from which their family was
forced to flee due to the father’s opposition to Rafael Leónidas
Trujillo's dictatorship.
• The novel's major themes include acculturation and coming of age. It
deals with the myriad hardships of immigration, painting a vivid
picture of the struggle to assimilate, the sense of displacement, and
the confusion of identity suffered by the García family, as they are
uprooted from familiarity and forced to begin a new life in New York
City. The text consists of fifteen interconnected short stories, each of
which focuses on one of the four daughters, and in a few instances,
the García family as a whole. Although it is told from alternating
perspectives there is particular focus throughout the text on the
character of Yolanda, who is said to be the both the protagonist and
the author's alter ego.
Enrique´s Journey
In this astonishing true story, award-winning journalist Sonia Nazario recounts the unforgettable
odyssey of a Honduran boy who braves unimaginable hardship and peril to reach his mother in the
United States.
When Enrique is five years old, his mother, Lourdes, too poor to feed her children, leaves Honduras
to work in the United States. The move allows her to send money back home to Enrique so he can
eat better and go to school past the third grade.
Lourdes promises Enrique she will return quickly. But she struggles in America. Years pass. He begs
for his mother to come back. Without her, he becomes lonely and troubled. When she calls, Lourdes
tells him to be patient. Enrique despairs of ever seeing her again. After eleven years apart, he
decides he will go find her.
Enrique sets off alone from Tegucigalpa, with little more than a slip of paper bearing his mother's
North Carolina telephone number. Without money, he will make the dangerous and illegal trek up
the length of Mexico the only way he can – clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains.
With gritty determination and a deep longing to be by his mother's side, Enrique travels through
hostile, unknown worlds. Each step of the way through Mexico, he and other migrants, many of
them children, are hunted like animals. Gangsters control the tops of the trains. Bandits rob and kill
migrants up and down the tracks. Corrupt cops all along the route are out to fleece and deport
them. To evade Mexican police and immigration authorities, they must jump onto and off the
moving boxcars they call El Tren de la Muerte- The Train of Death. Enrique pushes forward using his
wit, courage, and hope - and the kindness of strangers. It is an epic journey, one thousands of
immigrant children make each year to find their mothers in the United States.
Based on the Los Angeles Times newspaper series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for feature
writing and another for feature photography, Enrique's Journey is the timeless story of families torn
apart, the yearning to be together again, and a boy who will risk his life to find the mother he loves.
When I was Puerto Rican
• Esmeralda Santiago's story begins in rural Puerto Rico,
where her childhood was full of both tenderness and
domestic strife, tropical sounds and sights as well as
poverty. Growing up, she learned the proper way to eat a
guava, the sound of tree frogs in the mango groves at night,
the taste of the delectable sausage called morcilla, and the
formula for ushering a dead baby's soul to heaven. As she
enters school we see the clash, both hilarious and fierce, of
Puerto Rican and Yankee culture. When her mother, Mami,
a force of nature, takes off to New York with her seven,
soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda, the oldest, must
learn new rules, a new language, and eventually take on a
new identity. In this first volume of her much-praised,
bestselling trilogy, Santiago brilliantly recreates the idyllic
landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years
and her tremendous journey from the barrio to Brooklyn,
from translating for her mother at the welfare office to high
honors at Harvard.
Esperanza Rising
• Plot Summary
• Esperanza Ortega is a young girl, who grows up in Mexico
in the 1920's on Rancho de las Rosas, a vineyard her family
owns. Mexico is recovering from the revolution of ten
years earlier. There is still a great deal of animosity towards
the rich landowners, who are seen to be uncaring of the
peasants. The story opens, as she is anticipating the
harvest of the grapes from their vineyard that always
coincides with her birthday. At the end of the harvest,
there is always a wonderful fiesta attended by the
servants, vaqueros, campesinos, and many of the wealthy
families in the area. The afternoon before the iLa cosecha,
or harvest ceremony, Esperanza cuts her finger on a rose
thorn, while she is gathering roses for table decorations
the next day. As she is thinking this.....