Judith Ortiz Cofer is from Puerto Rico and so is her protagonist, Elena. Some details in the story that reflect this common heritage revolve around music, language, food, and certain behaviors. First, the music played in El Building comes from Puerto Rico. The following passage demonstrates the writer's experience with how Puerto Ricans use music to help them cope with the struggles of life:
"El Building was like a monstrous jukebox, blasting out salsas from open windows as the residents . . . tried to drown out whatever they were currently enduring with loud music."
Next, the use of language can reflect an individual culture. For instance, slang terms can help to identify one person with a particular group. Elena's mother tells her...
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