Category Archives: Puertoricanness

Class Notes 9/12

First of all so sorry guys i am posting this up now. I am horrible at this!!!

Things we did on Tuesday 9/12:




PRINT OUT SOMEONE’S BLOG¬†(¬†we will talk about why is it important to you, why did you pick that especific blog.


Finish girl and if any had questions, we could go back to them.

-Narration and Context

-No burning questions or comments.

Questions of Identity, Perception, Freedom,

(Most of us liked the Yellow Wallpaper) lol


Move on to Puertoricanness, Evaluate it and go into context as to being puertoricanness:

“No longer keep her accent under lock and key” – to be set free

We concluded that the narrator is a SHE.

A shift- conflict- “lock &key”


Conflict- tension, character, plot. (it’s almost always resolved!)

external ( vs. society, environment, human vs. human)

internal (vs. yourself, like getting up in the morning, we all have internal conflicts/wars with ourselves at all times. whether to eat pizza or not, to cross a bridge or not, to go to class today or not. )

I did not have an internal conflict typing this up, JUST finishing my Calculus HW.

INTERNAL CONFLICT- often short-handed, you struggle with something.

AMBIVALENCE- Conflict between 2 things, having 2 different feelings about something.

there is usually a consequence to whatever you decide but when it comes to this word, it is either coming to class or be affected by your grades when you aren’t present to do the classwork and participation.


Self VS. Identity- Internal

Self VS. Society- External

1st sentence: “Waking up inside her” what was dormant? (like a lightbulb just turning on)

PERSONIFICATION of PR being a character.

Paragraph 5 Sentence 2: being caught between 2 worlds, being an immigrant, accent, pronounciation.

PACE/TIMING when she says, “Interrupt me back!”

Her Puertoricanness– Noun, semi-made up word. (essence of being puerto rican.

Puerto Rican- ADJECTIVE describing a person

ANALYSIS- stay grounded, do not stray because of what the author feels. Your idea or your opinion can change because of what we are percepting. 

Puertoricanness- “The way you leave the stove on with food ready…..”¬†Part of culture-Home-Social Aspect

SPONTANEOUS- not expected? just pops up. (think of spontaneous combustion)

IDIOSYNCRASIES- unique to you or to me, not generally to other people.

Narrator identifies being Puerto Rican conflicting.

“Come mija, quieres cafe?” is the way that she starts speaking spanish during the reading intentional?

Yes, to show she misses herself, waking up to the sound of that rooster, to show her puertoricanness, to be set free when speaking her language.Spanish comes out mid-sentence.

1st half of the story is in english until she is no longer under lock and key.

She is becoming more authentic, UNRAVELING.

It’s like she is becoming PR, with an American culture cape hovering above all of that inner self.

SYMBOLISM- personification, manifestation of conflict, diction


The rooster- cannot be repressed- who she really is, TRUE SELF (but she loved it)

IDENTIFICATION¬†“she was like the rooster” (simile- using like or as)

It reminded her of home. (Home being PR)

The rooster prompted the memory of the rooster back home.

Neighbors did not like the rooster- they cursed it, pissed them off.



LAST PARAGRAPH: She accepted herself, puerto rican and american, two cultures inside her, going in the bus to buy vacalao. it all just ends up coming together, conflict is resolved, she gave in. It is all balanced now, no more heartbreak between herself.

SYNTHESIS- coming together


Start on Yellow Wallpaper(not finished yet, re read and comment on a classmate’s blog)

We only did the first couple of pages.

DISCUSSION TIP:  when talking about the story make sure to include page #, column #, paragraph #, and line #.

Setting/ Imagery: uninhabited for a long time, (untenanted Paragraph 4)

“Colonial Mansion”

John is her husband-says that she is not sick, yet he gives her medication (CONTRADICTING).

CREDIBILITY- He is a physician( like her brother)- High Standing

John- controlling (Practical when she is emotional)

Believes in hard facts (Tangible)

Laughs at her, scoffs at her, does not take her seriously.

Treats her like a child, He puts her away from room with flowers. He puts her in a horrible NURSERY

Does not aknowledge her actual being sick

Dismisses everyone around her, he wants he to stay alone in a way. ALIENATES HER.




1st person POV- only her perspective-SUBJECTIVE-RELIABLE?

Narrator has a big imagination, (Paragraph 2- she talks about romantic felicity, and haunted house, like she hopes for the house to be haunted.

EXTERNAL CONFLICT- Husband and Brother are physicians, they take control of the narrator’s life. WHO IS IN CONTROL?

The story is told through her, the setting and imagery but also take a look at the role of her writing.  Her relationship to writing. How she writes and when is she writing.( we will discuss this in class tomorrow!)

Once again guys, sorry for posting this late. I made it as detailed as possible, if you have anything to add feel free to do so!



Feeling as an immigrant

The article “Puertoricanness” written by Aurora Levins Morales tells a story of¬† the immigrant from Puerto Rico who is living in Chicago right now. In the beginning of article, the narrator created an image from the protagonist’s head which was a rooster wakes up people living on 59th street at 6:00 A.M., and everyone cursed at the rooster, and here the author used Metaphor and described the little town as a chopped corn and being ruined by the rooster. However, she still likes it because it was included as a part of emotion to her hometown, she just miss her hometown very much.

When she was first living in Chicago, she was always trying to hide her true identity and her accent. As an immigrant, she refused to speak Spanish in the nursery school. She missed her life back in her hometown, Puerto Rico. Here is extract what I do when I first came to United States as an immigrant couple years ago, I refused to speak Chinese in class because I don’t want to be treated different in class. I tried to hide my accent but unfortunately I have nothing on the English background and I was not able to hide it well.

Later in the story, the protagonist also could not keep her accent under lock and key, too. Every word she was trying to hide such as dyslexia, stuttering and halting slips out as the wrong language. After the narrator use three question in the continuous way to express how embarrassed the protagonist is feeling at that moment.

Finally she realized things about herself, the things she was trying to hide from others as a Puertoricanness for all these years had already shaped her in her habits, such as idiosyncrasies of her nature. She could just be herself and lived in this new home for herself. She found that there was no need to hide herself anymore. So now she yearned for the clocklessness, looking back into her childhood and her food she enjoyed in the poorest house.

Missing home


The short story called “Puertoricanness” by Aurora Levins Morals takes places around 1986s in Northern California in Berkeley. It talks about a married woman that was an immigrant from Puerto Rico, and how she struggles to hide the “Puertoricanness” inside herself till later on. She describes her American self, and how it was changing back to her Puerto Rican self later on as the short story progresses. She misses the type of life she had in Puerto Rico from the food, friends, and other things she missed from her home. ¬†In the end she accepted her heritage, and she isn‚Äôt going to hide it anymore.

As I was reading, I felt this sense of missing home in the woman that was immigrant from Puerto Rico. Around the start of the short story, she referred to her dreams and this rooster, but not to the lone rooster in 59th street or any other street nearby. When she was referring to not the lone rooster in 59th street, she must be referring to a rooster around her home in Puerto Rico since it not the one roaming around on 59th street or any of the roosters in the nearby street in that time period. Then later she talked to Sally about how Puerto Rican still lived as if they were all in a small town. Assuming this Sally is neighbor and a friend to her, this hinted that she was missing home because she is talking about how she felt in her home town to someone she can trust.

Continue reading

Puertoricanness is a story about a  immigrant woman who is torn between two worlds of different cultures and habits of Puerto Rico and America. I find this story beautiful as we see our protagonist come to accept herself as she is and understands that her habits are different than non Puerto Rico. In this journey she gets overwhelmed with the new scenery things like food and setting were different. She felt so out of place that she even had memories coming back to her of Puerto Rico and the home she had their.

This story is good example of how most immigrants feel when the enter a new world (country with a different culture) and have to find a way to fit in. Most dive into and accept the new culture, others blend the two and others like our protagonist accepts the difference and keeps their culture in their hearts and continue to use practice out.  This text also relates to me since my mom, aunts, uncles and older sister are immigrants and they blended the two cultures of America and Barbados.

Pi√Īa is good

“Puertoricaness” stood out me because just looking at this title, you can tell it’ll be about somebody who is Puerto Rican. As I was reading this, even though I am not Puerto Rican, as a Asian American, I could relate sometimes to where she was missing the feeling of her hometown. She didn’t want to conceal her “real” self anymore. In the beginning it was explained that she enjoyed the morning wake up calls from a rooster back in Puerto Rico while everyone else hated it. She looked forward to the rooster’s wake up call at 6:00 A.M. When the sentence started out with “It was the Puerto Rico waking up inside her…” (page 1), I was confused at first. But it kind of related to the rooster’s ¬†wake up call that no one enjoyed. The protagonist is a immigrant who moved to Chicago and misses her inner “Puertoricaness.” As a result, she got fed up with blending in with crowd and reverted back to her original accent which she calls “dyslexia, stuttering, halting, unable to speak the word which will surely come out in the wrong language” (page 1). When she was in nursery school, she refused to speak Spanish but now she enjoys¬†Pi√Īa (Pineapple) juice without caring. She embraces her roots, her accent, her culture and enjoys being Puerto Rican. In page 2, she makes food in a pot and eats out of it when she’s hungry. It may be different for other people but for the protagonist, she embraces it. Her norm is different than some people and that’s okay because she did this in her childhood.

Although she may not be in Puerto Rico, she still has habits that were kept hidden when she went to Chicago. No matter where she is, she is home wherever as long as she remains her usual “Puertoricaness.” Even though she may not have the rooster waking her up in the morning,¬†she no longer let the day shape her. In the end, she made it clear that she was every bit Puerto Rican and proud of it.

Everyone can relate to feeling prideful about their roots/culture and reading this story made me think about what makes me me. I am an American Born Chinese (ABC) and even though I don’t act the certain way that other Asians do, I respect their culture. I am what they call “Americanized.” Even though I do not practice the culture, when asked to by my mother, I would help out if need to. For example, they offer up food to their ancestors and pay their respects often. We also burn fake money to offer to our ancestors and some visits temples. You can’t help but respect your own culture and your own family tradition because we all grew up in it. ¬†What makes her Puerto Rican is her accent, her love for¬†Pi√Īa, and most importantly what she grew up around. She defined the word “Puertoricaness” and even though some of us may not practice what our parents practice, it shapes us and just maybe we may pass it on to the next generation.

Reading Response #1

The short story “Puertoricannes” by Aurora Levins Morales describes the struggle that most immigrants face. Do you assimilate totally to the American culture or do try to keep the culture from the place you were born. The narrator faced this problem, she refused to speak spanish in preschool as she was trying to assimilate totally to America.¬† As she got older she realized that there was nothing to be ashamed of and started even¬† talking with a Puerto Rican accent.¬† She was able to mix the American culture and the Puerto Rican something that all the immigrants who moved her managed to do.

This story has great meaning today with what is happening in communities across America. People are trying to assimilate to American way  and leaving behind the culture that they grew up and everything they know. Yet this is the opposite of what the American culture is all about all you have to do is look inside the schools you go to. You have people who are white, black, asian, hispanic and etc. We all are able to learn from each other and takes things away from all these different cultures and use it in our everyday life.

Puertoricaness Response

Upon reading the short story, Puertoricaness by Aurora Levins Morales, it was a story that deeply hit me close to home.

We witness out protagonist now within the United States and how she is split between this home and the home she had once lived in but she to leave behind. After years of being away from home, she had no choice but to keep the other half of herself locked away. How the narrator mentions how something as simple of a roaster crowing at 6 in the morning, which would make anyone else in that town of Oakland groan in dismay, while it makes our protagonist awake something deep within her; a part of her that has been as sleep for much too long. Then bit by bit this other half slowly emerged to make herself known. She begins to let out bits of her accent, making her tone of speech distinctive to a Puerto Rican’s. ¬†‘Unable to speak the word which will surely come out in the wrong language.’ At this point she is no longer able to find her other half, bit and pieces of it try to make their way out as she began to become indulged in nostolgia as she misses her home.

This is an example of how the pressure of American life forced her to hide the best qualities of her, something our protagonist should be proud of; her culture, her heritage, these things that help shape this half of her.

We see how this young immigrant slowly alienate herself of what she truly was in order to live within this new American society. And while it shows she gained new North American qualities that had also played a crucial part on shaping her identity, but it had sadly over showed her original form. But we then see how she finally let’s out this other half, yet she finds balance with these two traits despite them being polar opposites, but it is these traits that create who she is, her Puerto Rican blood along with the experiences she gained in America. And she wears this Puertoricaness as a proud badge for all others to see.

My mother was once an immigrant from Colombia, and everyday she would mention of the wide endless pastures by the farm, the healthy animals she helped raised, and the simple yet pure life she lived where everyone new each other, neighbors behaved as brothers. The delicious food and beautiful language. But after she had arrived to America, she had no choice but to hide that all, all that build who my mother is. And while even now she laments her beautiful home, she uses her experiences in America that lead her to the life she has now, but reached a point where there was no need to keep away the Colombian farmgirl. Instead my mother gained the best if both worlds and believed there is no shame to be a Colombian in Nother America.

This story can be an experience in which countless immigrants have had, many like my mother, like the students within City Tech, like a large portion of people here in North America. But the protagonist had learned to never forget where your home is, the people you’ve met, and your heritage, to love your origin even when you move away to a new home. Those traits are both sides of the same coin.

“Puertoricanness” Reading Response

In “Puertoricanness” by Aurora Levins Morales, the narrator speaks of a girl who feels as though she is reborn by breaking free from her constant suppression of her blood and heritage as a Puerto Rican woman. Throughout the text, she repeats 2 to 3 times that “it was Puerto Rico waking up inside her”, signifying a cease to the battle within her of being “more American and less Puerto Rican”. ¬†The sound of the rooster teleports her to her very own island and serves as a sort of reminder of her roots and her mornings waking up in Puerto Rico as a child. This sense of breaking free of a self imprisonment slightly reminded me of Kate Chopin’s “Story of an Hour”, where similar to the woman of Levins’ story, Mrs. Mallard is liberated once she realizes she was free of her marriage to live a life of her own. Puerto Rico and all her ties to her island are suddenly awoken within her; ties that she knew have been within her since birth. She is undeniably a Puerto Rican woman and isn’t going to conform for the validation of someone else.

I found one part very relatable as a Caribbean girl, where Levins’ describes the habits of the “Puertoricanness” that lived within her. Habits like leaving a pot of food on the stove to reheat “whenever hunger struck”. These habits are what make her, and she had felt embarrassed of her true self for so long. By suppressing who she was beneath what she presented herself as, she kept her Puertoricanness caged and hidden, failing to be true to herself and yearning to be someone she wasn’t. Social standards can urge people to alter themselves just to blend in and conform, and by regaining this realization the girl is liberated and fully embracing the real her. I think Aurora Levins Morales gives a clear message about embracing your truest form, and being yourself undeniably and whole heartedly despite what may be “socially acceptable”. ¬†To blend and conform is to lose who we really are, which is a waste of precious time and life.

Response to Puertoricanness (#1)

So the writer, Aurora Levine Morales, is both the narrator and the protagonist; who then is the antagonist?, I suppose that the antagonist is American culture in general, and in particular, that part of American culture which conflicts with the Puerto Rican culture of Aurora Levine Morales’ youth; that which is close to her heart, and for which she has found no substitute in the United States. What instant convenience of American culture can compete with a pot of food on the stove all day, humble as that pot of food may be. For if a pot of food is on the stove all day, there is somebody there to tend to that pot all day, somebody to serve you perhaps, somebody to talk with you as you eat. What refrigerator, full of microwaveable delicacies can compete with that? ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†

The rooster….it is significant that Levine Morales starts with the rooster (a metaphor for the Puerto Rican in Levine Morales that will not be suppressed?). That visceral rooster will be heard and cannot be ignored. The rooster will wake her up, will be part of her dreams, until she answers him and embraces her dormant Puerto Rican culture. ¬†

¬†The narrator has the misfortune of emigrating from a warmer climate to a colder one. Who in Chicago’s cold winters would not miss the Caribbean or the shores of the Mediterranean if they could. How can the plain mulberry tree compare with the exuberant flamboyant tree of Puerto Rico. How can the grey winter Chicago skys compare with the vibrant colors of a Caribbean sky? ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†

¬†Like all immigrants, the fear of lacking “savoir faire”, seeming to be ignorant of social norms; to not “know” how to dress, or date, or to address a professor appropriately, caused the narrator to suppress the intuitive part of herself; to appear as dyslexic, stuttering, and to sell herself short; but no more. Yesterday, as she answered her husband, something changed; she felt comfortable with being herself, by telling him that “This is how we talk, I will not wait sedately for you to finish”… this is who I am, I am not sedate! She will drink¬†pi√Īa and mark time by mornings, afternoons and nights, not by the technical exactness of minutes and seconds. Her “work, eating, sleeping, lovemaking, play” will now shape her time. ¬† ¬†

The narrator is torn between the two parts of her identity, the innate and the adopted; but she can abandon neither: “Since she could not now, in the endless bartering of a woman with two countries, bring herself to trade in one half of her heart for the other, exchange this loneliness for another perhaps harsher one”. Here the narrator acknowledges that her adopted American culture has also become a integral and valued part of her identity, and is thus also close to her heart, albeit at odds with the Puerto Rican part of her identity. ¬† ¬† Is it not this very conflict, between the two parts of her heart, like a woman torn between two lovers, which gives Levine Morales the inspiration for her writing. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†

Reading Response #1

In the short story Puertoricanness, Aurora Levins Morals the author and the protagonist struggles between her two lives as a Puerto Rican and as an American. I found this to be a beautiful story about a women that accepted who she was and where she came from. She was an immigrant who moved to America trying to fit into two different worlds and new lifestyles because of this she was feeling lost and overwhelmed, as though she was torn between two worlds and languages.¬†She was missing the food, ¬†atmosphere , and the memories that she had back home in Puerto Rico. ¬†For the most part this type of behavior demonstrates the fear that migrants with non-American cultures have when settling into society within the states. As a result, she locked ¬†herself up and the things that made her stand out, such as her culture, heritage, and language. ¬†The clash of lifestyles made assimilation difficult and had her felling lost. ¬†This fabrication of emotions and thoughts had resulted in a somewhat self hate of herself at an early age. In nursery school she refused to speak Spanish and purposely hid her accent. As she matriculated into secondary school, she couldn’t control herself anymore, her accent ‘seeped out, masquerading as dyslexia, stuttering, halting, and unable to speak the words that would surely come out’.

She needed time to realize what she needed to do, which was to let go and understand that it was fine to be herself.¬†Not worrying about her accent or how she dressed, and needed¬†to forget that she was an immigrant. She worried about ¬†what would others thought of her, but over time she realized that it didn’t matter what other people thought of her. ¬†Slowly she started to embrace her culture and stopped keeping up with a lifestyle where she was not comfortable living. Embracing her heritage and living a life without hiding parts of who she was and where she came from. The last line of the story, the author writes ‘making her presence felt…. and she was all Puerto Rican, every bit of her’. This shows she is not only letting herself go, but now being proud of who she is. She was proud to let out ¬†the Puerto Rican woman that has been suppressed inside of her. She was suppressed her heritage because of the fear of the greater societies opinions, the fear of not fitting their lifestyle.

This is a story that some can relate to when coming to America.  Adapting in a new country may be hard, but it is important to still feel comfortable with themselves. Some may feel shy or embarrassed about showing their culture. They might try to avoid being different and  they may feel the need to hide their accent, or stop wearing clothes that represent where they came from. All this because  someone may look at them differently.  It is  important for them to realize that there is no reason to suppress themselves, and to understand that it is okay to stay true to themselves. Moving to a different country where people have different cultures does not always mean someone needs to change their own.

By Penina Gavrilova