Author Archives: stephanie kletas

Lost Children Archive Part 2:

This novel was one of my favourite ones in the course. Though I said in my last post that I felt that the novel lacked some kind of suspense in it, I feel that I did find some suspense as I was reading. Even if it lacked those complicated and climactic storylines, I was still eager in wanting to know what would happen next. For example, when the son decided to leave with his sister or when he lost her, I found myself continuously flipping through the pages eagerly wanting to know how everything would unfold.

As the second half is largely narrated from the ten-year-old boy, he recounts parts of the road trip from his perspective. We encounter a boy who witnesses the disunity of the parents, being unsure of his family’s future and feeling as is he has been put to the sidelines as his parents seem too occupied with their distinct projects. The boy decides to become a lost child himself and he brings his sister along on this journey to also find Manuela’s lost children. As I was reading their journey as lost children, far away from their parents I noticed how these children who live a privileged lifestyle compared to the other children referred to in the novel, undergo some of the difficulties that the true lost children go through. Difficulties such as when the brother and sister get separated, the heat and the sun weighing them down, living through dehydration and starvation, and finally riding on the gondolas of a train as if it was like being on La Bestia, which is the death train for many of these children heading north. The brother and sister are the ones that are now responsible to tell the story of the lost children, but instead of telling the story it seems as if they are performing some difficulties that the real lost children face.

One idea that really stuck with me throughout the novel and which is touched on some more in the second part of the novel is that of forgetting and erasing history. Just as the tombstones of the Apache chiefs that were located in a distant area hidden behind a wall which made it seemed as if they were “locked up and removed and disappeared from the map”, it seems to me as if the same thing is still currently happening with the stories of these children aspiring to find a better life as they head north. Only when their stories seem to serve other purposes such as political interests, it appears as if these children and their emotional stories disappear and seem to be forgotten. Though they disappear these stories haven’t ended yet as they still very much happen today.

Lost Children Archive Part 2:

This novel was one of my favourite ones in the course. Though I said in my last post that I felt that the novel lacked some kind of suspense in it, I feel that I did find some suspense as I was reading. Even if it lacked those complicated and climactic storylines, I was still eager in wanting to know what would happen next. For example, when the son decided to leave with his sister or when he lost her, I found myself continuously flipping through the pages eagerly wanting to know how everything would unfold.

As the second half is largely narrated from the ten-year-old boy, he recounts parts of the road trip from his perspective. We encounter a boy who witnesses the disunity of the parents, being unsure of his family’s future and feeling as is he has been put to the sidelines as his parents seem too occupied with their distinct projects. The boy decides to become a lost child himself and he brings his sister along on this journey to also find Manuela’s lost children. As I was reading their journey as lost children, far away from their parents I noticed how these children who live a privileged lifestyle compared to the other children referred to in the novel, undergo some of the difficulties that the true lost children go through. Difficulties such as when the brother and sister get separated, the heat and the sun weighing them down, living through dehydration and starvation, and finally riding on the gondolas of a train as if it was like being on La Bestia, which is the death train for many of these children heading north. The brother and sister are the ones that are now responsible to tell the story of the lost children, but instead of telling the story it seems as if they are performing some difficulties that the real lost children face.

One idea that really stuck with me throughout the novel and which is touched on some more in the second part of the novel is that of forgetting and erasing history. Just as the tombstones of the Apache chiefs that were located in a distant area hidden behind a wall which made it seemed as if they were “locked up and removed and disappeared from the map”, it seems to me as if the same thing is still currently happening with the stories of these children aspiring to find a better life as they head north. Only when their stories seem to serve other purposes such as political interests, it appears as if these children and their emotional stories disappear and seem to be forgotten. Though they disappear these stories haven’t ended yet as they still very much happen today.

Lost Children Archive Part 1:

I’ve really enjoyed this novel so far. As I’ve been reading the first part, I have encountered myself noticing how the reader is not really presented with any kind of suspense. Instead we are simply following a family through their road trip through the United States. As we join them in this journey, we learn about their family interaction, the relationship between the mom and the dad, music, photography, literature and the political climate in relation to the immigration crisis at the southwestern border. All this is narrated through the eyes of the wife. I must say that when I first saw the title of the novel, I was expecting something that would focus on tackling the child migrant crisis but after reading this first part it seems that this is the backdrop of the story. It is a novel with immigration. It’s a backdrop of the family road trip where the family also observes the wide variety of Americans in the country, witnessing things such as the way they live and their political and social beliefs. As the family is witness of this immigration crisis through listening to the radio, they also have a crisis of their own. This crisis revolves around the marriage presented, which is slowly dissolving throughout the family road trip. Though physically they are together, emotionally and internally the mom and dad seem to be lost in the direction of their marriage.

Throughout the journey the mother also reflects on how she wants to work and present her project on the border situation. As the trip progresses, she realizes that she wants to document the stories about the missing migrant children, something that is brought to her attention after hearing of the disappearances of the two girls that are part of the legal case that she has become interested in. The mother wants her project to humanize these children, as she shares that she does not want her project to use the suffering and unjust treatment of these innocent beings for political intentions, sob stories or to follow a narrative of us vs them or how she states it “patriots versus illegal aliens”. The mother is in search to give a human face to these beings who are victims of a terrible situation. This crisis that is touched on in this book clearly reminds me of the situation that is still happening presently and is still greatly politicized today.

Lost Children Archive Part 1:

I’ve really enjoyed this novel so far. As I’ve been reading the first part, I have encountered myself noticing how the reader is not really presented with any kind of suspense. Instead we are simply following a family through their road trip through the United States. As we join them in this journey, we learn about their family interaction, the relationship between the mom and the dad, music, photography, literature and the political climate in relation to the immigration crisis at the southwestern border. All this is narrated through the eyes of the wife. I must say that when I first saw the title of the novel, I was expecting something that would focus on tackling the child migrant crisis but after reading this first part it seems that this is the backdrop of the story. It is a novel with immigration. It’s a backdrop of the family road trip where the family also observes the wide variety of Americans in the country, witnessing things such as the way they live and their political and social beliefs. As the family is witness of this immigration crisis through listening to the radio, they also have a crisis of their own. This crisis revolves around the marriage presented, which is slowly dissolving throughout the family road trip. Though physically they are together, emotionally and internally the mom and dad seem to be lost in the direction of their marriage.

Throughout the journey the mother also reflects on how she wants to work and present her project on the border situation. As the trip progresses, she realizes that she wants to document the stories about the missing migrant children, something that is brought to her attention after hearing of the disappearances of the two girls that are part of the legal case that she has become interested in. The mother wants her project to humanize these children, as she shares that she does not want her project to use the suffering and unjust treatment of these innocent beings for political intentions, sob stories or to follow a narrative of us vs them or how she states it “patriots versus illegal aliens”. The mother is in search to give a human face to these beings who are victims of a terrible situation. This crisis that is touched on in this book clearly reminds me of the situation that is still happening presently and is still greatly politicized today.

The House on Mango Street

I must say that The House on Mango Street was one of the books that I was most looking forward to in this course. As I first started reading this book, I found myself a bit confused and wasn’t quite sure how to understand the structure in which the book is written. As I continued reading, I soon found myself quite interested in Esperanza and the way she shares the stories of the people that surround her and her own life on Mango Street. This book offers the reader a compilation of stories of different stages or different events and people in Esperanza’s life. What makes this book unique is that you don’t have to read the book from beginning to end to understand it, the reader can open any chapter and start reading. Each chapter offers us a distinct story.

I would say that one of the main takeaways for me after reading this book would be Esperanza’s desire to become her own self and not one of the many women found on Mango Street. The ones that sit by the window looking outside, the women who do not have a way out. Esperanza observes the women in her family and in her neighbourhood as her only role models, women who have been unable to break from the traditional roles imposed on them. These women are trapped in a culture that promotes and enforces patriarchal control and oppression. Esperanza is witness of this from a young age and she puts it on herself to not become one of these many women stuck in a life that denies them freedom in becoming their own self. These women are trapped either by their fathers, husbands, children or their regrets of not rejecting these traditional roles that keep them locked up, unable to escape. As Sandra Cisneros puts it at the beginning of the book: A las Mujeres, To the Women. I believe that this book is for those women that feel stuck and chained up to a life that has been unfair and that has seen them withstand mistreatment from traditional patriarchal roles. Esperanza sheds light on these women and on her culture that continuously disregards the independence of women and incessantly promotes their codependence on a male figure. Esperanza is determined to escape and aspires to be much more as she does not want to become just another woman sitting by the window.

The House on Mango Street

I must say that The House on Mango Street was one of the books that I was most looking forward to in this course. As I first started reading this book, I found myself a bit confused and wasn’t quite sure how to understand the structure in which the book is written. As I continued reading, I soon found myself quite interested in Esperanza and the way she shares the stories of the people that surround her and her own life on Mango Street. This book offers the reader a compilation of stories of different stages or different events and people in Esperanza’s life. What makes this book unique is that you don’t have to read the book from beginning to end to understand it, the reader can open any chapter and start reading. Each chapter offers us a distinct story.

I would say that one of the main takeaways for me after reading this book would be Esperanza’s desire to become her own self and not one of the many women found on Mango Street. The ones that sit by the window looking outside, the women who do not have a way out. Esperanza observes the women in her family and in her neighbourhood as her only role models, women who have been unable to break from the traditional roles imposed on them. These women are trapped in a culture that promotes and enforces patriarchal control and oppression. Esperanza is witness of this from a young age and she puts it on herself to not become one of these many women stuck in a life that denies them freedom in becoming their own self. These women are trapped either by their fathers, husbands, children or their regrets of not rejecting these traditional roles that keep them locked up, unable to escape. As Sandra Cisneros puts it at the beginning of the book: A las Mujeres, To the Women. I believe that this book is for those women that feel stuck and chained up to a life that has been unfair and that has seen them withstand mistreatment from traditional patriarchal roles. Esperanza sheds light on these women and on her culture that continuously disregards the independence of women and incessantly promotes their codependence on a male figure. Esperanza is determined to escape and aspires to be much more as she does not want to become just another woman sitting by the window.

Bless Me, Ultima Part 2:

This novel has been quite interesting in giving the reader an interesting view of the different issues a child may face as they are progressing through life be it related to identity, religion, or culture. One of the main ideas of Bless Me, Ultima, is witnessing the process of Antonio leaving his childhood behind and acquiring his own knowledge as he goes through the process of maturing. At first, the reader is witness of an innocent boy who is unaware of the dangers and difficulties that life has to offer. We accompany Antonio through this loss of innocence and his realization of the good and evil in the world. With this loss he acquires other qualities which  can be seen as wisdom and maturity.  Throughout the novel we see this transition in many experiences that Antonio witnesses or is involved in. An example of one of these experiences is witnessing the murder of Narciso. He sees how Narciso’s life is taken away by Tenorio, a villainous man who has an obsession with seeking revenge against Ultima. After witnessing Tenorio shoot and fleeing the crime scene, Antonio hears Narciso’s last confession. In order to give the dying man comfort in what he wants to share, we witness Antonio listening to the man’s last dying words which can be perceived as him taking the role of a priest. Another scene that touches on the loss of innocence is when Antonio witnesses his brother Andrew at Rosie’s house. We can view this scene as one that may relate to Antonio’s earlier dream, where Andrew tells Antonio that he would not enter the house until Antonio loses his innocence. If Andrew’s entrance to Rosie’s house relates to the past dream Antonio had, this means that he has lost his innocence, which is related to the naïve and childlike perspective he begins with in the novel. We also start noticing how Antonio begins to defend his beliefs and grows a sense of confidence about them. This can be seen with his conviction to defend Ultima against the mob who come to his house with Tenorio in seek of vengeance. He is willing to speak up and to partake in the defense of Ultima. As I read through the novel, I was able to witness a coming of age story through the perspective of a young boy and witness his growth and maturity into becoming a man.

Bless Me, Ultima Part 2:

This novel has been quite interesting in giving the reader an interesting view of the different issues a child may face as they are progressing through life be it related to identity, religion, or culture. One of the main ideas of Bless Me, Ultima, is witnessing the process of Antonio leaving his childhood behind and acquiring his own knowledge as he goes through the process of maturing. At first, the reader is witness of an innocent boy who is unaware of the dangers and difficulties that life has to offer. We accompany Antonio through this loss of innocence and his realization of the good and evil in the world. With this loss he acquires other qualities which  can be seen as wisdom and maturity.  Throughout the novel we see this transition in many experiences that Antonio witnesses or is involved in. An example of one of these experiences is witnessing the murder of Narciso. He sees how Narciso’s life is taken away by Tenorio, a villainous man who has an obsession with seeking revenge against Ultima. After witnessing Tenorio shoot and fleeing the crime scene, Antonio hears Narciso’s last confession. In order to give the dying man comfort in what he wants to share, we witness Antonio listening to the man’s last dying words which can be perceived as him taking the role of a priest. Another scene that touches on the loss of innocence is when Antonio witnesses his brother Andrew at Rosie’s house. We can view this scene as one that may relate to Antonio’s earlier dream, where Andrew tells Antonio that he would not enter the house until Antonio loses his innocence. If Andrew’s entrance to Rosie’s house relates to the past dream Antonio had, this means that he has lost his innocence, which is related to the naïve and childlike perspective he begins with in the novel. We also start noticing how Antonio begins to defend his beliefs and grows a sense of confidence about them. This can be seen with his conviction to defend Ultima against the mob who come to his house with Tenorio in seek of vengeance. He is willing to speak up and to partake in the defense of Ultima. As I read through the novel, I was able to witness a coming of age story through the perspective of a young boy and witness his growth and maturity into becoming a man.

Bless Me, Ultima Part 1:

When I first started reading this book one of the ideas that interested me was the idea of two distinct beliefs mixing together in a young boy’s life. In this book we find a young boy, Antonio trying to navigate the independence that is given to him to choose the path he wants to follow. Though his mother, the Luna side of the family has this hope of her son becoming a priest and creating a connection with the field and the surroundings and building a sense of community and family, Antonio also struggles with the option of following the identity that his father instilled in the other sons. The values of the Márez family, being a true hombre, an hombre of the llano with independence and freedom of mobility. Within Antonio he encounters two distinct lifestyles. He keeps on questioning his path and which to follow, we encounter a young boy maturing and growing. Thoughts and questions drive Antonio, his questioning and his curiosity sets a distinct tone to this book. One of the first questions that sets this kind of tone in the book is when Antonio asks his mother if Ultima was present at his birth. Through this question what Antonio really wants to understand and get an answer to is about his destiny of who he is to become. In his dream, Antonio sees his mother’s family and father’s family arguing over his future, and he believes that the woman who helped deliver him which seems to be Ultima, may be the only one who can help him know what lies ahead of him. With this sense of questioning to help fulfill his curiosity, we get a sense that this book is going to take us through the life of an innocent boy whose curiosity and willingness to know and learn leads him to another way of viewing his surroundings and life through his relationship with Ultima. I also want to briefly touch on one aspect that seemed to remind me to other texts that we have read so far in this semester, which is the concept of language. I have noticed how though this text is mostly written in English, the author has some sentences in Spanish. Young Antonio shares with us that he does not know how to speak English and he will learn it until he starts school. This shows the reader how language plays an important part in Antonio’s upbringing and identity.

Bless Me, Ultima Part 1:

When I first started reading this book one of the ideas that interested me was the idea of two distinct beliefs mixing together in a young boy’s life. In this book we find a young boy, Antonio trying to navigate the independence that is given to him to choose the path he wants to follow. Though his mother, the Luna side of the family has this hope of her son becoming a priest and creating a connection with the field and the surroundings and building a sense of community and family, Antonio also struggles with the option of following the identity that his father instilled in the other sons. The values of the Márez family, being a true hombre, an hombre of the llano with independence and freedom of mobility. Within Antonio he encounters two distinct lifestyles. He keeps on questioning his path and which to follow, we encounter a young boy maturing and growing. Thoughts and questions drive Antonio, his questioning and his curiosity sets a distinct tone to this book. One of the first questions that sets this kind of tone in the book is when Antonio asks his mother if Ultima was present at his birth. Through this question what Antonio really wants to understand and get an answer to is about his destiny of who he is to become. In his dream, Antonio sees his mother’s family and father’s family arguing over his future, and he believes that the woman who helped deliver him which seems to be Ultima, may be the only one who can help him know what lies ahead of him. With this sense of questioning to help fulfill his curiosity, we get a sense that this book is going to take us through the life of an innocent boy whose curiosity and willingness to know and learn leads him to another way of viewing his surroundings and life through his relationship with Ultima. I also want to briefly touch on one aspect that seemed to remind me to other texts that we have read so far in this semester, which is the concept of language. I have noticed how though this text is mostly written in English, the author has some sentences in Spanish. Young Antonio shares with us that he does not know how to speak English and he will learn it until he starts school. This shows the reader how language plays an important part in Antonio’s upbringing and identity.