What is a summary of "The Mother" from ¡Yo!

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"The Mother" tells the story of immigration from an unnamed Latin American island to the United States. Because of the author's background—she is a Dominican author who grew up in New York, who often draws upon her own experience for her work—we can reasonably guess that the story is set...

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"The Mother" tells the story of immigration from an unnamed Latin American island to the United States. Because of the author's background—she is a Dominican author who grew up in New York, who often draws upon her own experience for her work—we can reasonably guess that the story is set in the Dominican Republic.

The narrator of the story describes her challenge with the English language, saying that only fools would speak such a confusing language. She goes on to say that each member of the family has had a unique experience, finding their greatest challenges in different aspects of adjusting to American life.

She describes how her family lived as a clan—not only the "nuclear family," but also the extended family living together as a support system for each other, no matter how tumultuous.

She reflects upon a trick that she played on her family when they lived on the island that she called "putting on the bear."

The narrator owns a fur coat given to her by her mother. One day, she decides to wear the coat and tell her children that she is a bear from the North Pole that Santa sent to visit them. However, the plan goes awry when the children are terrified upon seeing their mother in the coat, and later tell their mother that they saw the Haitian bogeyman "El cuco."

She starts to use the trick to encourage her children to behave because each time, they are equally as terrified. Eventually, she hopes that they realize that she is not actually "El cuco," but the trick lasts quite a while.

Her most precocious child, Yo, is the one who finally realizes that her mother is not "El cuco," but is a woman in a fur coat. The mother realizes that Yo has been rummaging through her and her husband's closet. The mother sees a gun and asks her husband in a panic to get rid of it. He agrees to move it to a different location, wraps it in the fur coat, and puts it in his car.

Later, the mother asks Yo if she saw anything interesting in the closet, but Yo does not recall a gun. The mother begins to feel overwhelmed by everything—the English language, the trauma her husband has experienced, and especially the arguing of her children.

She resorts to locking them in closets when they are whining and fighting, for a short amount of time. Yo tells her teacher stories about being locked in the closet after she is locked up with the mink coat that had once terrified her and that her mother had promised she would never see again.

A social worker visits their home, and the mother takes a Valium in the hopes of impressing her. She and the social worker have a discussion about the challenging conditions on the island, and the social worker is sympathetic to their experience. She tells the mother about how Yo has been telling disturbing stories about bears mauling children and about being locked in closets.

In the end, the social worker gives them a positive review, and Yo's mother looks to the future.

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