Study Guide

The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica Catholicism

By Judith Ortiz Cofer

Catholicism

Going to this deli is a religious experience—both literally and figuratively. If you weren't already aware, Catholicism is the religion of choice for the majority of Latinos—both here in the U.S. and abroad. Any self-respecting Latin deli, then, is going to offer up some choice cuts of religious imagery.

  • Lines 2-3: We guess that this could be any old "Mother and Child," but, given the context, we're going to go with Mary and Jesus. Those two are featured pretty prominently in Catholic imagery. That this pair graces the top of the register tells us where the store owner's priorities are: religion first, profit second.
  • Line 6: A "votive" is an offering made to God, typically in the form of a candle. You can see votive altars at Catholic churches. We suppose you could also see one in a bunch of hanging plantains, if you were religiously-minded enough like our speaker here.

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