Dreaming in Cuban

by Cristina Garcia
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What would be a good thesis statement for an essay on Dreaming in Cuban if you need to write about Lourdes and identity?

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Lourdes has troubling memories from her time in Cuba. She sees her husband's family's ranch confiscated by the state. And she is raped by a soldier of the state. Therefore, she has a complete aversion to all things dealing with the state, communism, and the Cuban Revolution. Although she is...

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Lourdes has troubling memories from her time in Cuba. She sees her husband's family's ranch confiscated by the state. And she is raped by a soldier of the state. Therefore, she has a complete aversion to all things dealing with the state, communism, and the Cuban Revolution. Although she is raised in Cuba, these events and her conflicted relationship with her mother lead her to flee to America. She embraces American culture and opens two successful bakeries. She is proof that immigrants can find success and opportunity in America. In spite of all her hardships, she has acquired a version of the American Dream. But she has done so through her own hard work and perseverance. 

Lourdes has quite literally remade herself in America. Although she still is in touch with her Cuban roots (namely through Jorge, her father), she has formed a new identity, becoming more American than Cuban. Lourdes demonstrates that identity is not something essentially based upon where we come from. It is not determined by nationality, religious upbringing, or race. Lourdes demonstrates that identity is a fluxing notion, something that is more like a performance than something written in stone. It is malleable, it can be changed, and this is the result of the will to do so in addition to the influence of different cultures and beliefs. Lourdes goes from a communist, spiritual society to a capitalistic, entrepreneurial culture. She becomes American. Her mother, Celia, is Cuban through and through. Lourdes' daughter, Pilar, inevitably embraces her American and Cuban roots, thus showing again how identity is malleable and can be hybrid. With Lourdes and even more so with Pilar, we see that identity is a role which is not fixed to some essential notion of race, nationality, or even gender. Note that Lourdes is the more active, working member of her marriage. In these ways, in addition to her feminine roles, she takes on more typically masculine roles in the marriage. 

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