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Last Updated on August 14, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 303

"Fiesta, 1980" takes place over the course of one day in the life of the twelve-year-old Dominican-American narrator, Yunior. It is on the day when his family—including his older brother, younger sister, and parents (whom he calls Mami and Papi)—is attending his aunt's party in the Bronx.

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It is clear from the beginning of the story that things aren't right in Yunior's house, and the story is about the way these events affect the narrator. Papi comes home to take a shower, and Yunior thinks his father is washing away the evidence of having been with his Puerto Rican mistress. Yunior's mother seems nervous, and then Papi becomes angry at Yunior for eating, as Yunior always throws up in his father's Volkwagen van.

As the family drives to the party and then celebrates at the party, Yunior becomes the target of his father's wrath for throwing up in the car; Papi then forbids Yunior from eating at the party. Yunior's mother, on the other hand, provides mints to her son and stands beside him as he brushes his teeth by the side of the road after throwing up.

Using the events from this day and the flashbacks Yunior has about meeting his father's mistress, the author draws a portrait of a family suffering from a great deal of tension. Yunior understands the distress his mother feels in her marriage, and he thinks about a lovely photo of her before she was married, when she seemed freer and happier. The reader may wonder if Yunior, who is the target of his father's wrath, is throwing up only from motion sickness or also due to the stresses caused by the tensions in his family. Yunior is aware of his father's transgressions and his mother's unhappiness, causing him to feel unsettled and perhaps even ill.

Style and Technique

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 218

The most noticeable stylistic features of the story are the narrator’s diction and the dialogue, which express the authentic and colorful language of an immigrant Dominican culture. The narration and dialogue contain numerous Spanish words and slang, without italics to...

(The entire section contains 521 words.)

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