Study Guide

Dreaming in Cuban Love

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Love hurts. Love scars. And not to mix idioms, but love also bleeds. Love commits you to an insane asylum. It holds you out by the ankle and drops you in the lap of whoever happens to be there. It looks like rejection and feels like hatred. García really elevates the love/hate binary to another plane in Dreaming in Cuban, complicating most family relationships by showing that affection and loyalty can make the characters do some very unsavory things. Think of Felicia and her attempted murder of her child or her mutilation of Graciela Moreira. Celia almost forfeits her life because her passion is thwarted. "Protective" gods turn on their devotees and crush them like bugs, despite their diligent attentions. Don't despair: good love exists (think Celia and Pilar)—you'll just have to do a little digging to get at it.

Questions About Love

  1. What is the nature of Lourdes' and Pilar's relationship? In what ways, if any, does it change by the end of the novel?
  2. How do the characters in Dreaming in Cuban show affection and love?
  3. Why does Jorge stick around after his death? For whom does he do it?
  4. Celia nearly dies when Gustavo leaves her. Why doesn't she? What do you suppose she lives for?

Chew on This

Familial love appears to be as complicated and difficult as erotic love in García's work.

Celia's desire to "live for passion" belies a need to keep from disappearing beneath the apparatus of an uncaring and impoverished social order.

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