What is the climax of "American History" by Judth Ortiz Cofer?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the story, "American History" by Judith Ortiz Cofer, we meet two unlikely friends: Skinny Bones, a young Puerto Rican girl, and Eugene, an African American boy who moves into her neighborhood.

Both Skinny Bones and Eugene are outcasts at their school.  They quickly become friends, and fall in love.  Eugene tutors Skinny Bones who needs some help, not because she is a poor student, but because English is her second language.

Eugene finally invites Skinny Bones to study in his apartment in the building across the street, something she has been looking forward to.

The climax of the story occurs after she leaves and the announcement of President John F. Kennedy's assassination is made.  Skinny Bones, unable to grasp the deep significance of this moment, convinces her mother to let her go to study with Eugene, rather than to church to pray for the slain president.

The climax of the story occurs when Skinny Bones arrives at Eugene's where she experiences rejection and becomes an outcast again as Eugene's mother prejudicially refers to Skinny Bones as "one of them," and refuses to let Eugene study with her, as he is smart enough that he doesn't need any help.

Skinny Bones returns home and tries to show sorrow in the face of Kennedy's tragic death, but the tears she sheds are over her sorrow at the rejection by Eugene's mother, and the loss of her first young love.

faa60175 | Student

meet eugene at the building

wer4563 | Student

Page 45 where she meets eugene at the el building


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American History

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