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

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Study Questions for the "Someone is Coming to Take Your Lap" Chapter

  1. After moving to Santurce, the Santiago family experienced a significant improvement in living conditions. List the improvements, compared with the primitive conditions in Macun.

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  2. Esmeralda experienced discrimination when she started attending school in Santurce, after moving from the rural area of Macun. Describe what happened to her.

  3. Out of childish curiosity (p. 43 - 44), Esmeralda quizzed her father on the topic of sin. Papi's answers were an ironic contrast of what he practiced. Discuss the irony in his answer.

  4. Esmeralda heard about "Jurutungo." Explain what kind of place it was, in the context of the memoir. (p. 49)

  5. Don Berto, a well respected elderly man, passed away. In what ways did his death have an important impact on Esmeralda?

  6. Esmeralda and Papi had a very philosophical dialog about body and soul. Summarize the most important points of their conversation. (p. 53 - 54)

  7. The paragraphs between p. 55 to 57 served as a prelude to the next chapter, "The American Invasion of Macun." In what ways had this discussion provided Esmeralda with notions of a better life?

  8. Why had Esmeralda devoted three pages (p. 58 - 60) to tell the readers about rain in a certain afternoon in May? Also, describe the way in which Mami and the children played in the rain.

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