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Memoirs: Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood by Judith Ortiz Cofer

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Stella Segui

on 11 December 2012

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Transcript of Memoirs: Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood by Judith Ortiz Cofer

Memoirs (Non Fiction) Silent Dancing:
A Partial Remembrance of a
Puerto Rican Childhood Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood Themes Bi cultural experience Woman figure Bi cultural experience Providencia Maria Sabida History of the Twentieth Century Characteristics Works and Awards Judith Ortiz Cofer By Judith Ortiz Cofer Introduction Conclusion Summary Step by step you will be able to learn about the
author Judith Ortiz Cofer and the history of the Twentieth century. You will be able to experience the Memoir genre of Non-Fiction literature for young adults. We will be able to discuss a brief summary of the novel, an analysis and an evaluation. Also, we will discuss different approaches that can be taught with the use of this book. Finally, we will be able to discuss a mini lesson based in this memoir. Cofer wrote Silent Dancing as a result of a device which put together images and subjects from similar themes in an entire creative essay where in some cases, she retell or recast the same stories. Definitely, she succeed to create a vivid description of her childhood and the difficulties of growing up between two different cultures. Cofer’s recollections through an autobiographical-memoir style reflect her bilingual-bi-cultural childhood. Furthermore, she focuses in themes related to being a female and growing up in a foreign environment. This memoir is a great example to be taught in a classroom. References Born in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico in 1952.
Raised on Puerto Rico and in New Jersey, before her family finally settled in Augusta, Georgia. S
B.A. in English from Augusta College in 1974.
M.A. in English from Florida Atlantic University.
Graduated at Oxford University in 1977.
Poetry, essays, novels, short stories and works of creative non-fiction.
Great talent to move easily between genres mirrors, an ability to adapt to conflicting surroundings.
Female writer who is centered in female characters.
Writings mainly autobiographical and deal with the themes of gender and ethnicity.
Belongs to a group of female Puerto Rican writers who live in the United States and write in English
Mediator between two different cultures, her homeland Puerto Rico and her host city, New Jersey. Poetry, essays, novels, short stories and works of creative non-fiction.
Winner of the Anisfield Wolf Book Award and the Paterson Book Prize given by the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College. Most writings were paternalistic and elitist.
Women played a secondary and marginal role in the Island’s past, usually as shadows of men.
The Catholic women only method for birth control permitted was abstinence.
Women began participating in public life.
Power and prestige, was under male control.
Upper class women, whose families could bear the expense of the education could only study. As soon as you begin to read this memoir, Cofer presents an important female character which is Cofer’s grandmother or mamá . Mamá is the matriarchal figure of the family that holds them together. She passes wisdom, lessons about life , and the Puerto Rican woman through an oral tradition. Also, Mamá was considered the central figure in Cofer’s life. Cofer spend her youth going back and forth between Puerto Rico and New Jersey. Her father joined the US army for the difficult economic situation in Puerto Rico. When her Cofer's father went on a duty tour outside New Jersey, he sent back to Puerto Rico his wife and Cofer. Each afternoon, the women would gather in Mamás living room to listen to her different stories or “cuentos” which taught them about the Puerto Rican women. Teachings passed through stories of female characters and how their actions affected their lives. Some of the characters were María Sabida, María la Loca and Providencia. These characters were used by “Mamá” to give warnings about astute and cruel men who could ruin the life of a young innocent girl. María Sabida, a knowledgeable and wise young girl who “slept with one eye open” (Ortiz, 70) She changed a cruel and evil man. She tricked him twice and the second time he thought he killed her. Then, he promised that he will never kill or steal again after understanding her value. Maria was able to life to one hundred years of age than any other woman in the island. Providencia, was the joke and shame to women who called her desgraciada. She did not had a husband, but many men. She had children from different men and she was always pregnant. She was an example of an easy woman who was not intelligent or wise. But, she was content, with all her everyday struggles. They would spend months in Paterson and then move back to the Island during her father’s extended tours of duty. She narrates the experiences of “commuting” between New Jersey and Hormigueros during the 1950’s and early 1960’s. These circumstances provided the setting for her bilingual-bicultural experience. Obviously, the rules and ideas about boys in New Jersey were very different from the Puerto Rican ones. Maria was a beautiful and young girl left at the altar. "This woman allowed love to defeat her." (Ortiz, 19) The experience destroyed her. Maria la Loca Cofer dedicated this book to two women, her mother and her daughter.
The female, mother figure is extremely important as it was to her literary mentor, Virginia Woolf. She quotes her mother Virginia Woolf who says, “A woman writing thinks back through her mothers”.
It is apparent that the teachings of her grandmother and mother are essential in her development as a Puerto Rican woman.
A Young, innocent and vulnerable girl could easily be deceived by an astute, conniving man that could often frighten.
Mamá banished Papá from her bed to serve better the family to have the active life she needed and desired, which was the only way for a catholic woman to own and control her own body. (Ortiz, 25)
Papá assent his wife wise decisions. (Ortiz, 30) Stella M. Seguí González
November 28, 2012
INGL 4327-L01 Cofer’s recollections through an autobiographical-memoir style reflect her bilingual-bi cultural childhood difficulties when growing up between two different cultures by putting together essays and poems from similar themes in an entire creative essay where she sometimes recast a story. Cofer, Judith Ortiz. Silent Dancing: A Partial Ortiz,105-108 Early years Idea This book is the recompilation of memoirs of the author back in the Twentieth century, when, Cofer's family struggled in Puerto Rico with economic problems and they needed to emigrate to the US. Through the book YA could experience the stories, the struggles and feelings from the author with the society.
Judith Ortiz Cofer is a wonderful example of a creative non-fiction memoir for young adults. She uses essays and poems with excellent descriptions of the surroundings and the characters. Also, the language does not have too many difficult words for students. Students can see the author's ages and the difficulties she went through in her live. Also, the feelings the author evoke when her grandmother told her the stories which are feminist moralistic. Definitely, this book is excellent to read in class, to teach the Twentieth century history and the feminism approaches. Evaluation Topical Historical The book is dedicated to two women, Cofer’s mother and daughter. The female, mother figure is extremely important as Cofer's literary mentor, Virginia Woolf. Grandmother’s teachings were essential to the author’s development as a Puerto Rican woman. Papá assented mamá’s decisions, because, he saw them as wise. Mamá banished Papá from her bed to serve better the family, to have the active life she needed and desired, and to has the control of her own body. Feminist Critical Approaches Puerto Rico New York Poor
Better wives
Extended family
Language Reach
Corrupted wives
Unknown people
Sign language Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood. Texas, United States of America: Arte Público Press Houston, 1990. 8th grade
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