LaGuardia Community College 2002-03 Common Reading
Esmeralda Santiago, When I Was Puerto Rican

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Study Questions for the "Fighting Naked" Chapter

  1. Esmeralda suggested that Papi was lying about the real purpose of a trip out of town (p. 21 - 23). How can the readers infer that Papi was lying? Find the actual sentences in the text to show how Papi was being evasive and dishonest about the trip.

  2. After Mami and Papi had a big argument, Mami threw out all of Papi's clothes:
  3. "The next morning Papi's clothes were scattered in the front yard. They were damp, stained with the muddy tracks of toads and iguanas. As she waited for the coffee water to boil, Mami picked them up and took them to the tub under the avocado tree. That afternoon, when Papi came home, they'd all been washed." (p. 25)

    How did this selection reflect male and female roles in our society?

  4. Refer to the family tree that you have created in the "jibara" chapter. Add Provi and Margie to the tree. What is an appropriate way to include these names?

  5. Judging by Margie's age, and the ages of the children in the Santiago family, how can you characterize the relationship of Papi, Provi and Mami?

  6. Esmeralda had very naive notions of having a half-sister. What was her thinking?

  7. Esmeralda started attending school in Macun and she had great pride in going to school. Describe what her school life was like. (p. 30 - 32)

  8. Esmeralda learned about dignidad. Explain what the concept represents. (p. 30)

  9. The chapter was titled "Fighting Naked." Who was fighting naked? And why?

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