In the short story "American History" by Cofer, what would you like to say to Elena? Explain.

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Elena is young, hopeful for the future and daydreams about things she can't have yet. For example, she becomes enamored with the house next door to her apartment complex because of the love she witnessed between a husband and wife. She lets the images of the elderly couple's life take her away in day dreams. These day dreams do give her hope in a very unfair and cruel world that she lives in, but she should be patient and wait for her time to come. For example, Elena displays her dreaminess in the following passage:

"But after meeting Eugene I began to think of the present more than of the future. What I wanted now was to enter that house I had watched for so many years. I wanted to see the other rooms where the old people had lived and where the boy spent his time. Most of all I wanted to sit at the kitchen table with Eugene like two adults, like the old man and his wife had done, maybe drink some coffee and talk about books."

Elena dreams of adulthood and good companionship. Those things aren't bad at all; and, she should shoot to obtain those things in her life if she believes they will make her happy. Unfortunately, she expects to experience that on the night of her study date with Eugene and she is greatly disappointed because his mother turns her away.

What Elena needs to hear is that she can have a wonderful house and family one day, just like she sees in the house next door. Her time hasn't come, though. As for being rejected by Eugene's mother because of her nationality and social status, Elena should forget her, rise up with pride, and still be friends with Eugene at school. Life is unfair and frustrating, but having a positive attitude will get her through anything. She shouldn't let obstacles in life bring her down; rather, she should build upon her defeats and seek other triumphs another day.

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