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This story, which is told from the first-person point of view, focuses on the narrator's immigrant family from the Dominican Republic. The story reveals interrelated conflicts that arise out of the family's Dominican heritage: the pressure to assimilate into US culture, and the creative ambitions of both the narrator and her mother. The story opens with the narrator's recollection of her mother's nightly "inventing" of time- and labour- saving gadgets and of how the rest of the family scoffed at them. When the narrator is chosen to deliver a speech at school, she puts off preparing the speech for weeks. Finally, some lines by Whitman inspire her to write a passionate and personal speech. Although her mother approves, her father is infuriated by the speech, which he sees as dangerously disrespectful of authority. In the story's climax, he tears up the manuscript. The narrator's mother intervenes and helps her daughter construct a new speech saying all the "right" things. The next day, the narrator's revised speech is a success. That night the narrator's contrite father brings home an electric typewriter, which the narrator will use to become a writer, following her mother's creative tradition.
This story is interestingly very like the fiction of Amy Tan, which focuses on the experiences of immigrants moving to America. Key to this story then is conflict. It takes its strength and much of its fun from the clash between the anxious values of Latin American parents and the liberated values of their New York - raised daughter. Each major character experiences internal and external conflict, and if you are wanting to analyse this story further, this would be a great place to start.
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