Study Guide

Dreaming in Cuban Chapter 9: Enough Attitude (1975)

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Chapter 9: Enough Attitude (1975)

  • We are jumping back a little to catch up with Lourdes Puente, still living in Brooklyn.
  • She is now an auxiliary policewoman and really likes the position of authority. She only lacks the gun to go with her attitude.
  • The relationship with Pilar is still strained. We learn that Lourdes can't effectively discipline Pilar because she has nothing to lose and that Pilar finds her mother's ethics distasteful.
  • Perhaps because Pilar is such a handful, Lourdes idealizes the son that she lost to miscarriage. He would have been a true companion to her, she thinks.
  • Lourdes reflects on the differences between herself and the other members of her family who came to America.
  • She feels part of her new country and has broken with the stereotypical behavior of the women of her family. Her husband and his family, however, have not adapted.
  • Even before she left Cuba, she refused to be an indolent woman who watched soap operas all day. She became involved in the ranch and in setting up her house, despite resistance.
  • Her marriage to Rufino has declined—he no longer speaks to her. She gets updates about him from Pilar.
  • Lourdes really only has her father, Jorge, to communicate with, even though he's dead. She feels that they share the same wavelength on all things.
  • Pilar continues to antagonize Lourdes as her primary form of communication. She gives her mother a book of propaganda about the Cuban Revolution for Christmas.
  • Lourdes doesn't react well, but Pilar takes it in stride.
  • Back on her beat, Lourdes sees a figure crouching by the river in the darkness. She calls for the person to stop, but he jumps into the river.
  • Lourdes loses her composure and jumps in after him.
  • We learn that Lourdes survives the jump, but the boy—the son of Lourdes' thieving employee-for-a-day—dies.

Pilar (1976)

  • Pilar is growing up, but keeps much of her early style. She now has a boyfriend named Max who plays random instruments in a band.
  • Max is not put off by Lourdes (who doesn't like him) and seems willing to do anything for Pilar (like travel to a restricted Cuba to find her grandmother).
  • Pilar talks about her attraction to the energetic, violent music of the day—Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, The Ramones—and how she wants to translate that into her artwork.
  • Tension has grown among Pilar, Lourdes and Rufino. Although Papi used to be her ally, things changed for Pilar after she saw him with the sexy blonde.
  • Pilar also knows about Lourdes' posthumous communications with her Abuelo Jorge. Lourdes tells Pilar that her grandfather's spirit spies on her. She doesn't appreciate this.
  • We learn that Lourdes has become completely "integrated": she makes Jell-O molds and classic American fare whenever possible, totally giving up on any outward sign of ethnicity.
  • Pilar has also lost her interest in Cuba, for the most part. She occasionally feels urges to make her way back, but it's not intense.
  • Rufino has not adapted and Pilar notes that he seems lost. He hides away in his workshop.
  • The real high point of Pilar's narrative happens when her mother commissions her to create a new painting for their second bakery, in honor of the Bicentennial celebrations.
  • She gives Pilar total creative control of the subject matter and style. This is a mistake.
  • Pilar's sense of art jibes with her sense of rebellion, anarchy and ideals. She's into the abstract, and that's not something Mami understands.
  • Pilar decides to create a punk Statue of Liberty for her painting and keeps it veiled from her mother until the day of the public unveiling.
  • Lourdes has advertised a daylong celebration at the bakery to mark the Bicentennial—and the unveiling of the painting is meant to be the culmination of the festivities.
  • Pilar knows this and sweats it out until the moment the disrespectful work is revealed.
  • Lourdes' patrons do not appreciate the work. One man lunges toward the canvas with a knife. Lourdes tackles him and causes massive destruction to her baked goods.
  • Pilar feels love for her mother and her heroic actions to save the painting.

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