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’t 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.
There were certain parts to the short story that felt out of place when she was describing about herself without reading the short story a couple times. When she describe her sleeping matters as instead of “five-forty-one-and-twenty seconds—beep” she sleep whenever she wants whether it morning, afternoon, or night. It not hinted “five-forty-one” is actually minutes, but assuming it was minutes does translates to around 9 hours of sleep before alarm rings which represent by the “beep.” Since she isn’t following the five-forty-one-and twenty seconds, it mean she is taking a siesta which is some form afternoon nap which common in Puerto Rico. Then the time she was riding miles on the bus to buy bacalao, which bacalao is actually could a Puerto Rican Fish Stew. This show she is missing home and food she ate at home as well.
This type of story is about finding your identity and where you belong in another country. Many people feel this sense of finding where you belong is important. This is more shown in high-school students, but no doubt this woman in “Puertoricanness” felt that in order for her fit-in she had hide her native language when she was in nursery school. As she grew older, she look back at her younger self being happier than she is now while embracing her heritage. Many people will come to this point of looking back at themselves, and finding who they are and then move forward.
By Samuel Wong