Aguantando, Junot Diaz

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Luis R. Ramos
English Comp 2
Prof. Marion Stewart Titus
September 21st, 2012

Aguantando
By Junot Diaz

“Aguantando” means holding on. In the very first paragraph we see how important it is for the narrator, Yunior, to hold on to his father’s memory. Yunior lives with his mother (Mami), grandfather (Abuelo) and brother (Rafa). They live in a house where anything of value, including furniture, food, clothing and even Mami’s Bible is stained from a leaky roof. As a Hispanic male, believe me when I tell you there is nothing more sacred than Mami’s Bible in that home. Yet it is clear how important Papi’s pictures are because they’re always in a plastic sandwich bag to keep them dry. It’s also clear that Papi leaving was the most important event in the family’s history and his absence is the root cause of all the struggles they go through. The main struggle they all face is their financial situation. Besides the leaky roof, they rarely have money for food. Yunior speaks of almost always eating boiled yucca, platano and guineo. They didn’t get meat or beans and only occasionally would they get cheese or bacalao (codfish). Only on the best days can Mami afford oil to fry the food. They only way they could get their medicine on sick days was to skimp on the little bit of dinner they had. Obviously, they couldn’t afford clothes for school and Mami had to make sandals for Yunior and Rafa by sewing paper together. The leaky house was in a neighborhood that was “not the safest of places”, the kind of neighborhood where you can have a rat infestation with dozens of them running around. Sometimes when things are really bad, Mami has to send the kids away to relatives. Only the people living in campos or the Haitian immigrants were poorer. Each of the family members dealt with Papi’s absence in their own way. Maybe because of the abandonment from her husband, Mami did not allow herself to be close to her sons. She had to work “ten-,...
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