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When I Was Puerto Rican

            A Developmental Analysis Of The Main Character In The Book "When I Was Puerto Rican" By Esmeralda Santiago.
             Negi's childhood home in Macun was in a community which had few ties with the rest of society. She was an intelligent child who grew up poor, with six siblings, a virtually absent father, and little knowledge of how the world worked. Yet she was driven to shape an identity separate from her family, and in her heart still remain the "jibara" she was raised as. .
             Negi was a stable child with no significant drawbacks in her childhood that would inhibit healthy growth or development. She seemed healthy and happy. It is hard to consider Negi's childhood as "normal" reading about it from an American viewpoint. Reason being she grew up in a country and a culture dramatically different from most people's in America. Even though her houses were described as one or two room shacks, her bed shared by 5 or 6 siblings, she walked around barefoot outdoors, never visited the doctor, and ate rice and beans almost everyday; in her culture and in her community that is normal. People that have that experience growing up in America would be labeled "poor" or "underprivileged". One must be culturally sensitive and consider the location and context of her childhood to fully appreciate her experience. .
             Regardless of the context of the child, there are a number of general factors to consider when examining healthy development. Negi had a close knit family which provided love and support. Her mother encouraged maturation, education, responsibility, propriety, and respect. Her father, when he was present, promoted her growth by answering questions and bringing knowledge into the home usually in the form of reading material. According to Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman (2004), "A good family environment provides nurturance, support, guidance, and a safe, secure place to which children can turn" (p.158).

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