Enchanted Air Summary & Study Guide

Margarita Engle
This Study Guide consists of approximately 42 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Enchanted Air.
This section contains 668 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Enchanted Air Summary & Study Guide Description

Enchanted Air 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 on Enchanted Air by Margarita Engle.

The following version of the memoir was used to create this study guide: Engle, Margarita. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, August 4, 2015. Kindle.

In Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle, Engle, a Cuban-American describes through her poetry her feeling of being torn between the United States and Cuba. During her visits to Cuba, Engle feels free to be herself among the dancing plants. In the United States, where her family lives now, Engle feels as if a part of herself is missing.

Engle begins her story in 1947 when her Cuban mother and American father met and fell in love in Trinidad de Cuba. Engle moves forward in time to 1951 and her first visit to her relatives in Cuba. Engle describes the island as a fairy tale land of mythical creatures.

Engle’s next poems describe her life in the United States. The house to which the family moves on the Oregon border burns to the ground one night as a result of faulty electrical wiring. Engle’s mother begins turning off the electricity each night because she fears another fire.

Engle, meanwhile, misses the person she is in Cuba. She does not feel as if she fully belongs in her American school. She is even more out of place when she is skipped forward several grades. Engle finds solace in books and the poetry she writes. She dreams of riding horses, believing the feeling must be like flying, but her parents tell her that is not realistic since they live near Los Angeles.

During the revolt in Cuba, Engle’s family comes under surveillance by the FBI because they get packages and phone calls from Cuba. Engle fears her mother, who has never gotten United States citizenship, could be deported. Meanwhile at school, teachers and students made crude comments to Engle because of her Cuban heritage.

Engle’s mother takes her daughters to Cuba during the summer of 1960 because they fear it might be the last time they can make the trip because of worsening conditions between America and Cuba. Engle describes the evidence of the revolution — soldiers in the cities and bullets in her grandmother’s garden — that she finds in the country. Even though the people of Cuba live in poverty, Engle envies life on the farm where her mother grew up. She spends her summer riding horses, listening to her grandmother’s stories, and helping her great grandmother in her garden.

After Engle’s family returns to America, relations break down between the United States and Cuba. The people of the United States live in fear for the two weeks of the Cuban Missile Crisis as the president of the United States and premier of Russia try to avoid war. Engle again has to hear people talk badly about Cuba.

After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Engle’s mother is without a country but she refuses to get American citizenship. No one is allowed to travel into or out of Cuba. The family receives letters from relatives in Cuba that are written in metaphors to hide their real meanings.

Meanwhile, Engle has reached her preteen years. She is rebellious and tries to fit in with the students at school. She is suspended for rolling up her skirt on a dare. She gets her first kiss from a boy five years old than her. She runs away because it scares her so badly. Engle continues to find solace in books and her writing.

When Engle is 13, her family takes an extended summer vacation to Europe. Engle notes it is the first time that they have felt like a family since all of the trouble in Cuba. She learns to love Spain and begins to understand the connection between all people. Engle ends her poetry on a note of hope that even though her passport does not allow her to travel to Cuba, one day she will be able to visit that country again.

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This section contains 668 words
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