Judith Ortiz Cofer and Cofer Essay

Submitted By DaisyyBa
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Pages: 4

In “Casa: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood” the author Judith Ortiz Cofer writes about how her childhood was difficult, growing up in two worlds “the tropical island and the cold city”(38). She also talked about how her family would gather around and tell stories that would impact Cofer and her cousins life. These stories were passed down form generation to generation. These stories also showed Cofer and her cousin what to avoid in life and what to engage in life. The stories ended up becoming very important to Cofer and a huge part of her life.

The family stories would talk about life on the island versus their life now in the city. These stories had an influence on her. Cofer writes, “I grew up in two worlds, the tropical island and the cold city, and that would later surface in my dream and in my poetry.”(38). These stories affected her poetry and literature but they also entered her imagination and she began to dream about them. Hopefully she will keep these stories a dream and not turn her ancestors stories into her reality. The family “always embellishing them with a little or a lot of dramatic detail.”(38).
Meaning what the women are telling the young children are a little more exaggerated then what really happened just so they do whats right in life and not mess up like they did.

The stories that were told to Cofer and her cousin mainly taught them how to live life as a woman, especially a Puerto Rican woman in America(38). Cofer writes, “At three or four o’clock in the afternoon, the hour of cafe con leche, the women of my family gathered in
Mama’s living room to speak of important things and retell familiar stories meant to be overheard by us young girls, their daughters.”(37). This statement shows how they would all

gather around when they were together and tell stories passed down. Cofer would believe whatever her family told her from the stories.

Cofer faces many challenges living as a multicultural person in the world. When she spoke
English she had a Spanish accent and when she spoke Spanish she had an English accent(40).
This is why Cofer was look at differently by her peer, they made her feel like an “oddball” (40).
This is why when her grandma would tell stories about begin a Puerto Rican women in America because of her “two-way accent”(40). Cofer took everything that Mama would say and process it. Cofer uses her grandmother’s life stories to make it through her difficult childhood. Mama wants to give all the women of the family values to live by.

Cofer’s childhood was difficult for her. She would move around the country all the time. Cofer writes, “Mama would be weaving my hair into a flat plait that required pulling apart the two actions of my hair with little jerks that made my eyes water”(39). This statement means that with
Cofer living two lives it makes her who she is today. Cofer states, “I felt my grandmother’s hands teaching me about strength, her voice convincing me of the power of storytelling.”(41).
Meaning that Cofer understands why her grandmother is telling her these stories. Yes it hurts her living these two lives but if it wasn't for that to happen it wouldn't have influenced her