Dreaming in Cuban Summary & Study Guide

Cristina Garcia
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Dreaming in Cuban Summary & Study Guide Description

Dreaming in Cuban Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia.

Dreaming in Cuba is the story of four Cuban women in one family dealing with the repercussions of the Cuban Revolution. Throughout the novel, the impact of the political situation and their relationships with one another are vastly affected by the Revolution and what the future holds for each of the women involved.

There are two main characters — Pilar and Celia. Celia is the matriarch of the family, the grandmother of Pilar. She believes that although Pilar lives in New York and Celia lives in Cuba, Pilar will remember and continue on with Celia's thoughts and memories. The relationship between Celia and Pilar is vastly influenced by the Cuban Revolution. Lourdes, Pilar's mother, takes the family from Cuba when Pilar is two years old. For this reason, Pilar doesn't really feel at home in Cuba or in New York. Pilar and Celia communicate telepathically for years late at night until Pilar grows too old to hear Cilia anymore.

Celia fell in love with a man named Gustavo when she was young. Although a married man living in Spain, the affair with Gustavo impacts Celia the rest of her life. After he leaves Cuba to return to Spain, Celia despairs. She does not get out of bed for eight months. When a young man named Jorge del Pino comes to visit her in her housebound state, he urges her to write Gustavo. If Gustavo does not return her letters, she will marry Jorge. She agrees and writes Gustavo a letter. She continues to write him a letter every month on the 11th, although she never sends the others to him, but instead stores them in a chest for her granddaughter one day.

Jorge and Celia marry, but to punish her, he leaves her alone with his mother and sister — Berta and Ofelia. These two horrid women treat Celia so poorly that they eventually break her spirit. She prays for a son to save her, dreaming of escaping to Spain to meet up with Gustavo and getting away from this awful marriage. She gives birth to Lourdes and, hanging the child by one leg, swears to never remember Lourdes' name. She spends some time in the mental asylum afterwards. Lourdes and Jorge always remain close, but Lourdes never forgives her mother for these thoughts and is never close to Celia.

Felicia and Javier are Celia's next two children after she leaves the mental asylum and Jorge moves them into a place by the coast.

All of the women in Celia's family are blessed with gifts. All of them can foresee the future and telepathically speak to one another, although it is not something they talk about. No one seems surprised when the spirit of Jorge visits them, although only Lourdes is close enough to him in life to communicate with him in death.

Pilar lives in New York, but is a lost individual. She does not feel that she really belongs in America, yet knows too little about Cuba to know if that is where she belongs. She and Lourdes, her mother, constant fight, which adds to Pilar's feelings of displacement, since it is her grandmother, Celia — with whom she never verbally talks — that she feels closest. When Lourdes opens her second bakery, she asks Pilar to paint a mural on the wall. Pilar agrees, but produces a very controversial piece on the Statue of Liberty. When a man tries to physically attack the piece, Lourdes knocks him with her purse, which temporarily makes Pilar adore her mother. Lourdes's violent reaction, however, has less to do with protecting her daughter or her freedom of speech and more to do with not allowing anyone to tell her what she can do with her own bakery because it reminds her of the Cuban Revolution's beginnings.

Lourdes and Pilar will finally spend six days in Cuba in April. While there, Celia is thrilled that Pilar has remembered her and returned home. She is convinced that Pilar will carry on her future, although in the end, Pilar betrays her and her Cuban origins. After this happens, Celia swims off the coast of Cuba to never return again.

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This section contains 699 words
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