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Last Updated on August 5, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 608

Here are some quotes from Junot Diaz's "Fiesta 1980":

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  • "He didn't say nothing to nobody, not even my moms. He just pushed past her, held up his hand when she tried to talk to him and headed right into the shower. Rafa gave me the look and I gave it back to him; we both knew Papi had been with that Puerto Rican woman he was seeing and wanted to wash off the evidence quick." The narrator, Yunior, sets the stage for the story by describing his father's brusque behavior when he returns home and gets ready for the party. The father, Papi, cheats on the mother and acts like a dictator at home.

  • "We—meaning me, my brother, my little sister and Mami—waited for Papi to finish his shower. Mami seemed anxious, in her usual dispassionate way. Her hands adjusted the buckle of her belt over and over again." Mami, the narrator's mother, responds to her husband's dictatorial behavior with silence, but her flittering hands betray her nervousness.

  • "Papi was old-fashioned; he expected your undivided attention when you were getting your ass whupped. You couldn't look him in the eye either—that wasn't allowed. Better to stare at his belly button, which was perfectly round and immaculate." Papi is brutal with his children and demands their complete obedience. Yunior is even afraid to look his father in the eye during one of his beatings.

  • "That was the way he was with his punishments: imaginative. Earlier that year I'd written an essay in school called 'My Father the Torturer,' but the teacher made me write a new one. She thought I was kidding." Yunior finds it hard to convey his father's brutality to the outside world. The way Papi acts seems inconceivable to others, but it is Yunior's reality.

  • "Mami and Tía were frying tostones and the last of the pastelitos. She appeared happier now and the way her hands worked on our dinner you would think she had a life somewhere else making rare and precious things." Diaz uses people's hand gestures to describe their attitudes and feelings. As Mami is making food with her sister, she is active, and she seems like she has a precious life, not a life living under her husband's iron fist.

  • "She had dry papery hands and when she rubbed the towel on...

(The entire section contains 608 words.)

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