Form and Content

(Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

The Line of the Sun is a story of cultural integration embodied in the growth of the child Marisol into a young woman. That growth is complicated by her struggle to understand the unsteady connection between island Puerto Rican and mainland American life.

The novel is divided into two distinct sections brought together by Marisol’s imagination. The first six chapters recount the time before Marisol’s birth. In them, the island culture of Puerto Rico and Marisol’s genetic heritage are illustrated in her mythic landscaping of the memories of her grandparents, parents, and especially her uncle Gusmán. Chapters 7 through 12 move through the more realistic memories of Marisol’s childhood from age two until she is a senior in college.

Both sections use ritual to galvanize the protagonists to take up their quests. Gusmán, in part 1, is “exorcised” by Rosa and will follow her or her ideal for the rest of his life, living in exile on the mainland and eventually becoming Marisol’s guide. Marisol, in part 2, escaping the fire that results from the spiritist ritual conducted in El Building and forced to live in the suburbs, takes on the task of translating the new world to her mother, the motivation for translating life into words on the page. The form of the novel represents the two sides of Marisol’s character, which remain distinct and whole within her at the end.

The epilogue joins imagination and memory to...

(The entire section is 585 words.)