America Is Not the Heart - Prologue, or Gali-La! Summary & Analysis

Elaine Castillo
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Summary

Elaine Castillo begins her novel by introducing Pacita (“Paz”), a young woman who grew up in the poverty-stricken village of Pangasinan in the Philippines with her mother, her mostly absent father, and her many siblings. As a child she is described as eczema-ridden, hungry, clumsy, prone to getting into fights, and her light skin, “while universally covetable,” was seen as “suspicious” (3).

When her beautiful older sister Atse Carmen is outfitted with a shiny gold tooth—a symbol of status—Paz is determined to save up for one herself. But the cheaply executed procedure causes all her teeth to fall out, and we are told that she will have to wear dentures for the rest of her life.

At 16 years old, Paz goes to university in Baguio City to become a nurse. At university, Paz lies about her school expenses to her mother...

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This section contains 2,011 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the America Is Not the Heart Study Guide
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