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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 202

Reina writes Constancia of deprivation in Cuba, telling her of brain surgeons who bake birthday cakes on the weekend for extra cash. Constancia thinks to herself that she never would have been happy in Cuba after 1959. Research the economic situation in Cuba today and examine what role economics play...

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Reina writes Constancia of deprivation in Cuba, telling her of brain surgeons who bake birthday cakes on the weekend for extra cash. Constancia thinks to herself that she never would have been happy in Cuba after 1959. Research the economic situation in Cuba today and examine what role economics play in Reina and Dulce's lives.

Garcia told an interviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times that while living in Hawaii, at the edge of a bird sanctuary, she became obsessed with ostracized ducks and began reading up on naturalism. Birds play an important role in this novel. Research some of the birds that Garcia refers to and consider their significance in the story that Garcia is telling. Remember that birds migrate and that they can become extinct.

The custody battle over Elian Gonzalez was prominent in the news in early 2000. Many Cubans immigrated to the U.S. after Fidel Castro took power. What have been the different U.S. immigration policies toward Cubans and how have these policies changed between 1959 and the present day?

Toward the end of the novel, Constancia consults a santero. Research the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria and discuss its influence on the actions of Constancia and the other characters in this novel.

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