Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

When I Was Puerto Rican

Esmeralda Santiago’s When I Was Puerto Rican is an autobiography of Esmeralda’s coming-of-age. This piece of writing would be an excellent read for any young woman that is dealing with changes to her life. Esmeralda Santiago displays her life in a way that any teenage girl could easily relate to.

When I Was Puerto Rican discusses the life of Esmeralda as a young woman living in Puerto Rico. Her parents are constantly fighting and their home in a tiny shack is far less than luxurious. Esmeralda is forced to take much of the responsibility for her several younger siblings. This lifestyle did not make the life of Esmeralda’s family easy, and her dad leaving to start a new family was not a big help.

When Esmeralda’s father left to start a new family with another woman and their daughter, she was heartbroken. Excellence and success were only two of many goals Esmeralda had then begun to strive for. Then, with the detrimental injuries to her younger brother Esmeralda, her mother, and her younger brother moved to New York. Her brother needed to receive medical help from high-level doctors in New York.

After moving to New York, Esmeralda was faced with many life-changing decisions. It was there that she met her first love, and experienced her first heartbreak. She also experienced the death of someone important in her life. The transition to a new life in an
English-speaking country was initially more than Esmeralda could bear. She wanted nothing more than to fit in at her new school and make friends with her classmates. In the story Esmeralda stated, “I felt disloyal for wanting to learn English, for liking pizza, for studying the girls with big hair and trying out their styles at home, locked in the big bathroom where no one could watch.” (Santiago 230) Esmeralda was one to please others, but her new situation made it much more difficult for her.

At the ending point in When I Was Puerto Rican, Esmeralda had overcome her fear and made her dreams a reality. With her motivation and courage, she had proven herself to be a strong young woman.
“This will certify that the enclosed work is completely original.”



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!




Site Feedback