In the short story American History by Judith Ortiz Cofer encourages us to understand our own feeling and being sensitive to the situation around us before we act. Cofer supports her claim by describing Elena’s insensitivity to the president’s death visiting Eugene while everyone was still mourning. Eugene’s Mother assumes that Elena, her family, or Puerto rico immigrants in general are insensitive to the tragedy.
“I don’t know how you people do it,” pg 301 Eugene’s mother also doesn’t understand immigrants and believes herself superior to both Elena and people who are similar to Elena, she believes that she is not sorrowful enough about president Kennedy’s death to want to study with her son. However she doesn’t understand Elena’s feelings of simply wanted to spend time with Eugene, whom she liked and could connect to. ” In the same was Elena also fails to understand the situation around her.
The author uses dialogue as her mother warns her “you are heading towards humiliation and pain” pg 300. Unlike Elena, her mother understands the situation around her knowing that Eugenes mother won’t be happy that Elena want to study with her son. The author encourages to understand people feelings around us in order that we can be sensitive to them, which will prevent “humiliation and pain. ” The speaker in this short story is an innocent young girl called “skinny bones” who goes through hardships and trouble at school.
She lives in the crowded el building that houses immigrants from Puerto Rico like herself. Her tone can be described as unhappy and uncontent with her life “I hated my skinny flat-chested body, and I envied the black girls who could jump rope so fast their legs became blurs. The author writes with a serious tone as she portray the hardship immigrant children faces during this time period. Judith Cofer writes for other young adult who are also developing through hard times, portrayed Puerto Rico – American immigrant life and the difficult time other children gave Elena at school.