Name of Unit
The readingresponse is based on A cup of water under my bed: A memoir byDaisy Hernandez.
The text mentions the incidence of poverty and migration. In manyinstances, the plight of migrants overshadows the circumstances facedby their children. The narrator displays intense curiosity towardsthe affairs of her homeland. She is fixated on the television screenand wants "to see what it is all about" because her parentsoriginated ‘from that place in the television" (Hernandez 27).
The text agrees with my assumption that most migrants are motivatedto move for financial reasons. The narrator reveals that “numbersare why my mother came to New Jersey” (Hernandez 31). Thenarrator’s parents had left friends and family in Colombia inpursuit of employment in the U.S. Such a situation highlights thequandary of disadvantaged persons contemplating whether to migrate toanother country. Immigrants experience “the terrible moment whenthe road splits,” and they have to choose between their home andemployment in a foreign country (Hernandez 71). Also, immigrantsexperience plenty of nostalgia whenever they reminisce aboutconditions back at their ancestral home.
The text also confirms my previous notions about the connectionbetween poverty and illiteracy. The narrator notes that “thepoverty in Latin America means that many people do not know how tosign their names, let alone read or write” (Hernandez 29). Also,poverty led the narrator’s mother to marry young and have manychildren. The text helped me to appreciate the dehumanizing aspect ofimmigration. Migrants are forced to take menial jobs requiring a lowlevel of education, experience, and training. Two of the narrator’sthree aunts have cleaning jobs. For example, Dora “scrubs toiletsfor a white lady” while Rosa “cleans up after a white woman inthe city” (Hernandez 37).
The text shaped my opinion towards the proliferation of racismthrough migration. The widespread nature of slavery in the 20thcentury elevated the white culture above that of colored men. Blacksand Hispanics were maligned due to their skin color. Consequently,they were consigned to the plantations where their effort would beexpended in the field. In the text, a similar supposition is impliedwhen Rosa and Dora both clean for different white ladies.
However, the text clashes with my beliefs regarding the connectionbetween language and identity. Previously, I held that language hadlittle impact on a person`s identity. Nevertheless, the textdemonstrated the obvious impact of language on identity. As thenarrator became “more immersed in English,” she started todistance herself from her “family through unconscious gestures”(Hernandez 44). Her commitment towards learning English leads her towear headphones while in the house. This story shows the gradualchanges that occurred between the narrator and her family when sheelected to choose English. The narrator’s limited knowledge ofSpanish is reflective of her minor attachment to Colombia.
Religion has always been viewed as a source of desirable values andqualities in the society. The moral standards set and enforced bydivine law have contributed to the peace and unity enjoyed by humansat particular periods. However, religion has previously emerged as asource of contention and conflict particularly when people adhere todifferent ideologies and belief systems. The text highlights such asituation where Ms. Langlieb used her position as a religion teacherto assert that “the stories from the Bible didn’t necessarilyhappen” (Hernandez 120). Consequently, she plants doubts in thenarrator’s young and impressionable mind. This shows howirresponsible it is to subvert the faith of others. On the otherhand, it helps to respect and tolerate the religious views of others.
Societal values require one to adapt to established codes of conductin all aspects of life. For example, it is expected and even demandedthat members of the society will act according to the marriage norms.People are required to marry individuals of the opposite sex.Therefore, even if the available choices for marriage mates wouldseem like old televisions, one would still be expected to "makeit work" (Hernandez 208). The narrator mentions her contempt forColombian men as she accuses them of drunkenness, violence,unfaithfulness, and laziness. She claims that “they keepmistresses, have bastard children, and never come home on time”(Hernandez 210). Columbian men also use cunning methods to steal andlie to their spouses. In this manner, the narrator shows theunreasonableness with expecting women to marry such men. The texthelped me to appreciate the importance of understanding thecircumstances that led women into refusing to enter marital unionswith unworthy men.
The book also helped me to understand the factors that guided a womanin her decision about whom to marry. I learned that romance novelsand soap operas provide an idealist view that shapes the thinking ofmany people in their search of a marriage mate. For example, “readingHarlequin romance novels since fifth grade” had convinced thenarrator that the best men could “not work at fast-food places.They get to go to college. They speak English perfectly and French aswell” (Hernandez 211). The narrator also notes that “most womenstick to their own kind” (Hernandez 212). In this regard, theyprefer to marry people from their homeland before migratingelsewhere. On the other hand, some women met their husbands inparties held by friends. Despite their Colombian ethnicity, the womenin the narrator`s family married men from Cuba, Puerto Rico, andPeru. They ensured that they married “men whose wallets had SocialSecurity cards” (Hernandez 213). Nonetheless, “coming from thesame country was the start of connection, the entry point to love”(Hernandez 212)
I gained insight into the special circumstances that existed in afamily after marriage. Many women were forced to rationalize andtolerate disgusting forms of conduct from their mates. For example,the narrator’s Cuban father was an alcoholic. However, thenarrator’s mother reasoned that ‘alcoholism is better thanwomanizing or, worse, a man who can’t hold down a job” (Hernandez213). Although her Peruvian uncle was “snobbish at times,” he wasforgiven since he drove a Chevrolet and took the family to tourexotic locations. Also, she mentions that her Puerto Rican uncle isforgiven for his excessive body fat and having "kids from afirst marriage" since he "reads tarot cards" and cookswell during Thanksgiving (Hernandez 214). Preserving the family’sstatus and reputation supersedes the pursuit of happiness inmarriage.
Nevertheless, I disapproved of the assertion that a woman loving afellow woman was “terribly romantic” (Hernandez 222). Thenarrator claims that two women in love confirmed that “there is alove that can push you beyond what everyone else says is possible”(Hernandez 223). Granted, the difficulties endured through courtshipand marriage were well documented. However, it did not makelesbianism any more palatable. The natural law could neither besubverted nor circumvented. Furthermore, coupling and eventualprocreation were only possible in the case of heterosexual unions.Therefore, same-sex unions were a gross violation of the naturalorder. Notwithstanding, reading the book was an insightful experiencethat would appeal to those curious about the incidence of same-sexunions.
Hernandez, Daisy. A cup of water under my bed: A memoir.Boston: Beacon Press, 2014. Print.