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When I Was Puerto Rican

            In the book titled When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago, we are introduced to Santiago, who throughout this book refers to herself as Negi. Within this book Negi tries to get an understanding on the true meaning of love, by observing the examples she sees around her. One example is her parent's love-hate relationship and the other is a fantasy world based on the books and the radio programs about perfect love. Both of these two models of love contrast with one another and both of these models of love had an impact on her while growing up.
             Santiago writes, " At one moment they were just like any other couple, doing things together, playing with us kids, boasting about our virtues to the neighbors. The next they called each other names, spewed out ugly lists of offenses on both sides" (195). This shows the reader how Negi could not grasp how her parents are so much in love, yet at times it felt that they were not really in love with each other due to the constant day -to day fights that went on in her household. She tries to escape from their fights by escaping to her room where she is aloud to daydream about her fantasy world where love is perfect and the men always comment the women and neither of them fight or call each other ugly names.
             Yet there were times when things were good between her parents. It's me I whispered walking in. Mami laid in papi's arms her head on his shoulder his left hand cradling her face. He quickly pulled the covers up, but I already saw that she was naked. She blushed, and even though papi's skin was too dark to show it I knew he blushed too by the startled expression on his face" (192). This shows that even though they fought they still managed to salvage a loving relationship. For Negi seeing this made her happy because she felt that as long as there was no fighting that everything would be fine for a while. It seemed as though during these moments she felt as though it was a little like her make believe world of perfect love.

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