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"Laughter Out of Place" Chapter 1

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Frankie Grijalva

on 13 April 2016

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Transcript of "Laughter Out of Place" Chapter 1

Laughter Out of Place
Chapter 1

By: Frankie Grijalva
Laughter "Out of Place"
Goldstein returns to Felicidade Eterna in what month and year?
May 1995
Does anyone know what Felicidade Eterna translates to?
Eternal Happiness
Who is Goldstein's "informant" throughout her research in Brazil?
Gloria's youngest daughter, Soneca, told Goldstein of all the key events that she had missed while she was gone.
Does anyone remember the motion that Soneca did to illustrate Zeca's death?
"Held out her index finger and drew a line across her neck while sticking out her tongue, throwing an eye-popping glance at the low ceiling"
What news did she Goldstein discover from Soneca?
Death of Zeca
How does Soneca reacts towards Zeca's death ?
She laughs about it
Soneca says "I never liked him anyways. He was a runt and a tattletale, and our mother always protected him because he was sick. I don't miss him at all."
Discussion Question:
What is your reaction of reading people laugh and say negative comments towards a person's death?
Only landing in Rio a day earlier, Goldstein decides to go out into Felicidade Eterna
Characteristics of Felicidade Eterna:
same enterance
dirt unpaved paths and streets
second church
2 or 3 families with cars
What is "barreira" translate to and mean?
Barrier- limit to the land that made up Felicidade Eterna

Houses leading to barreira included:
shacks that were neat
brightly painted
cement floors
Themes through the houses:
Northeast Brazil: wattle and daub huts
ramshackle structures: made up of wood, brick, cardboard, etc.
Newest part of the favela
Many times, families would built additional small shacks on their property for growing children and their families.
Within Felicidade Eterna
A two block difference represented two economic extremes
Despite economic situations every household had which two applicances?
Television and Radio
What are telenovelas?
Television soap operas
First Arrival
Goldstein arrived for the first time at the end of 1990, in time for the New Years celebration
Celebration taken place on the beaches of Rio's Zona Sul
Major festival, second to Carnival
- January 1 dedicated to Afro-Brazilian orixa(African divinity) or goddess Iemanja.
What were some thing both the rich and poor offered to Iemanja?

What are the four New Year's Traditions in Rio?
1. Buying new underwear
2. Dressing in white
3. Letting waves break over your feet 7 times
4. Eating 12 grapes and keeping the seeds
flowers, fruits, and drinks
Goldstein believed it became a marker of her entree into Brazil
Through her celebration, Goldstein still noticed many women and children begging beach goers and vendors selling loads of ice cream
Discussion Question:
What is your reaction to the following quote?

"I had seen poverty before during my years in Latin America, but I had never experienced it so blatantly as I did in Rio." (pg. 26)
City of Contrasts
Seen as "Cidade maravihosa" What does this translate to ?
Marvelous City
Warmth and friendliness of the people
The Afro-Brazilian aspects of the culture
Beach culture
Sex appeal and exuberance of the Carnival celebration
Violence, messy, and exaggerated inequality

What were characteristics that lead to saying
"Rio is a [movie] trailer for Brazil"?
Scholar in Training
Before interest in Brazil was a Latin Americanist scholar in training.
1980's spent first summer as a sophmore undergraduate at Cornell University in Mexico as a research assistant for two professors.
She became interested in political activism and solidarity movements
Became active in CUSLAR on campus
Research position in rural Ecuador in 1982 for 2 1/2 years.

As a graduate student at UC Berkeley
Spent 3 months of 1988 on exploratory summer expedition
During the time, unsure of the focus of her studies and vowed not to be "seduced by Rio de Janeiro...by its charm" but failed
Settled on a proposal to study class relations and religious affiliations in Salvador- Bahia.
Plans Change
Arrived during AIDS epidemic and an expansive of AIDS activist and solidarity networks
Shifted focus to analyze the effects of the AIDS epidemic on low-income women
Worked with 2 teams
Interviewed low income women living in favelas on women's sexual lives and histories and n relationships with men
Return to Laughter
The Rio that became familiar to Goldstein was the one associated with what?
Soneca's laughter
Zeca's death was like any other poor person's death in a poor person's hospital
Death lent itself to jokes, parodies, obscene gestures, stiff bodies, stiff sexual organs, doctors claiming medical and class authority, chatting and smoking while a child dies.
"Humor found in the story gave people the strength to deal with it"
Zeca's Journey
1. Threw him on a metal cot
2. Put thermometer underneath his arm and prohibited siblings to give him water
3. Put him in a chair
4. Covered him with a blanket wet with alcohol
5. Zeca was losing his eyesight
6. Siblings tried to explain that Zeca had sickle-cell anemia
7. Doctors responded "Who is the doctor here, you or me?"
8. Zeca lost his tactile senses
9. Zeca starts dying, doctors put him on bed and begin shock treatments
10. Zeca dies
11. Zeca is put in freezer
"Doctors did nothing but smoke cigarettes and watch as he died"
- While family dressed him for the burial, his body was stiff and had a little "hard-on"
- That detail made everyone laugh and the people that were there remember the details of the tragic death of Zeca.

What were two things Goldstein had to learn while around Gloria and her family?
1. Goldstien had to learn to laugh along even though sometimes she did not find the stories funny at first.

2. Learned, at least partially, to get the joke
Rediscovering Rio de Janeiro
First met Gloria in early 1990's at a friends home where she worked.
She joked around and laughed with Goldstein's middle class friends
Goldstein hired Gloria to clean
A friendship blossomed within a context that was strange to Goldstein but ordinary for Brazilians.
Goldstein shared findings on AIDS Research project and Gloria would explain how she witnessed those findings occur
Filha Branca or White daughter
What did Goldstein begin to call Gloria?
Mae Preta or Black mother
"Gloria faced a great deal ordship in her life and that somehow, in the midst of the many tragedies that marked her struggle in this world, she managed to retain the capacity to laugh."
Racial Classifications in Latin America
Under Spanish rule, a detailed caste system was instituted in Mexico during a point in time.
Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) conducted a study for people to identify their own skin color
"If we cannot let people classify themselves, then the alternative is to let others do it."
Caste systems have been overturned by legislation, but social prejudices are still present, and "people may still hold personal opinions about members of other races based upon preconceived notions."
Due to Goldstein visiting all the time ans spending few nights out of the week with her family. What did Gloria begin to call Goldstein?
Goldstein would visit Gloria's house which included:
14 people
dirt floored, leaky, unstable 10x15 ft. shack
old stove with 2 working burners
wooden table for food preparation
in bathroom: a toilet, bucket, and water faucet
Plastic tubing that led out to the barreira's sewage system
Los Medios y Mercados de Latinoamérica study is a survey in 1998 in which interviewers are sent to interview a representative sample of people in their homes.
51% White 10% Mestizo
9%Black 1%Asian
1% Indigenous 1%Don't Know
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