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