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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 171

1. Jurgen's friend Flip jokes that all women turn into their mothers. In what ways is Esmeralda like Mami? How are they different?

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2. Trace the evolution of Esmeralda's life aspirations throughout the book. How do these changing aspirations reflect her maturation and development?

3. To what extent does the Santiago family recreate Puerto Rican culture on the mainland? How are Puerto Rican and mainstream American life combined in the Santiago household?

4. Discuss the importance of clothing and makeup in Esmeralda's life.

5. How did the many times her family moved affect Esmeralda? What aspects of her personality and self-estimation probably stem from her transient life?

6. How and when does the author incorporate Spanish into the text? What are the resulting literary effects?

7. When Mami refers to the High School for the Performing Arts, she calls it the school for "blanquitos." What does she mean when she says this? What is the significance of this term to Esmeralda's life in general? To Mami's life?

8. Compare and contrast Mami and Ulvi and their relationships with Esmeralda.

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