A cultural awakening

The author, Aurora Levins Morales, writes about a woman who accepts her cultural heritage after suppressing it for a long time.


The protagonist of the short story is a woman who is an immigrant from Puerto Rico. I believe the woman lives in Oakland, CA, as she makes several references to Oakland throughout the story, for example “…harsh voice carving out the Oakland Sky…” (Paragraph 1) and “…daily routine of a Northern California writer…” (Paragraph 8). The “Puerto Rico waking up inside her” (Paragraph 1) refers to her accepting her Puerto Rican heritage. The woman in the story makes several nostalgic references to certain things from her home country, such as the “wild careening hysterical roosters…screaming at the night and again at the day” (Paragraph 2).

The woman in the story used to suppress her cultural heritage for a long time, as evident in Paragraph 3 as she states that she refused to speak Spanish in nursery school, and in Paragraph 4 where she states that she does not try to hide her accent anymore. Another important change in her acceptance is living in what she calls a “clockless” life, in which she doesn’t let the time of day dictate how she should act. She states this at the end of Paragraph 5, in which  she would much prefer to live in “a world of morning and afternoon and night, instead of ‘five-forty-one-and-twenty-seconds’…“. This is further reinforced in the next paragraph where she describes that she would rather eat whenever she is hungry instead of having fixed mealtimes throughout the day.

2 thoughts on “A cultural awakening

  1. Nickolas

    I agree with your response about “Puertoricanness”. I believe that long-term suppression of the main character is one thing that both “Puertoricanness” and “Girl” have in common.

  2. Kina

    I loved how she realized that she doesn’t have to suppress her culture and who she really is to live in another country, but to embrace herself and her culture with the american culture. To come to loving and excepting her “puertoricanness”


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