Why do you think Judith Ortiz Cofer decided to name her story "American History"?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I would argue that the main reason that Cofer uses this title is that the story illustrates one of the abiding themes of American history: racial prejudice. Despite being a land of immigrants, the United States has never really come to terms with the widespread racial prejudice that exists to this day. In American History it is Elena who is on the receiving end of such prejudice in the shape of Eugene's mother, who won't let her into her home simply because she's Puerto Rican.

It's notable that Elena lives in an apartment block—El Building—that houses exclusively Puerto Rican families. This indicates that, despite the melting-pot ideal, America was and remains a country deeply divided on lines of race. If anything, the social...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 377 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team