When I Was Puerto Rican Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe the house Esmeralda's family moves into at the beginning of Chapter 1: Jibara.

The house is a rectangular structure on made from rippled metal sheets. It rests on stilts over a circle of red dirt. It reminds Esmeralda of a lard can. The floor is sagging.

2. Explain why Esmeralda feels she has been punished for choosing to work with her father instead of listening to her mother.

As she is carrying the old floorboards to the woodpile, Esmeralda gets covered in stinging termites. They swarm and sting her entire body. As her mother washes them off, Esmeralda wonders how the termites knew she had disobeyed her mother's orders.

3. What is a jibara? Why does Esmeralda think she might be one?

A jibara is a person who lives out in the country in Puerto Rico. Because she was born in the city, Esmeralda's mother insists that she is not a jibara; however, Esmeralda can't help but notice that they live like peasants in the country. They have a dirt floor, a house shaped like the traditional bohio, and they listen to jibara songs on the radio.

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