Study Guide

Dreaming in Cuban Chapter 13: God's Will

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Chapter 13: God's Will

Herminia Delgado (1980)

  • Herminia sheds light on Felicia del Pino's character and their friendship.
  • When they were six, Felicia asked Herminia if she would "save" her.
  • Herminia's father was a babalawo, a kind of high priest of santería. Celia and pretty much everyone else were afraid of him—except Felicia.
  • Her fascination with coconuts began there, when she saw Herminia's father use the shells in a divining ritual.
  • Felicia turned out to be an exceptionally loyal friend to Herminia, even working tirelessly to have the remains of Herminia's son repatriated from Angola for burial.
  • Herminia says that Felicia didn't care about racial differences. She speaks of the racial tensions that are undocumented in any of the history texts they were given.
  • After Felicia's stint with the "guerrillas" in 1978 (after the attempted murder/suicide), she returned to Herminia and "La Madrina."
  • We learn that Felicia had an active role in Otto's death: she pushed him from the top of the roller coaster and he landed on high voltage wires.
  • After her return, Felicia takes her old job at the beauty salon and begins attending santería ceremonies with Herminia.
  • Felicia is dedicated to the orishas and soon asks to be fully initiated.
  • The ceremonies are secret, but she shares some of the details with Herminia. For one thing, there are lots of goats sacrificed, exactly the thing Felicia hated earlier in the narrative.
  • Celia and the rest of her family members don't approve of this initiation and aren't there to greet her when she returns.
  • Still, Felicia wears the white clothes of the initiate and does all that she's supposed to do.
  • But she does not thrive. Soon, it is clear that Felicia is dying, despite the best efforts of her santería family.
  • Celia appears at Felicia's house to see what is happening, and almost too late. She finds her daughter with a swollen, lumpy head on the verge of death. Celia holds her until Felicia dies.


  • After Felicia's funeral, Ivanito receives a radio from a mysterious benefactor (perhaps his father?). He feels that he might hear his mother singing as he tunes in.
  • He never hears his mother, but sometimes he gets the stations from Key West. It's helping him learn English and he longs to be like the DJ Wolfman Jack, who speaks to millions at once.

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