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“Dreaming in Cuban” by Cristina Garcia is story that focuses on the life of Celia Almeida, a woman who migrated from Cuba to the United States. She experiences various challenges in the new environment ranging from the loss of a lover to marital problems. On the other hand, “Arid” by Richard Rodriguez is a memoir of his experience as an immigrant from Mexico and how he was forced by situations to learn English. He states that he could not perform well in school simply because he did not know the language of his peers. Thus, although the two stories are written by different authors, they can be compared and contrasted.
There are various similarities in these two stories. These include the following: in the story “Arid” by Richard Rodriguez, the writer talks of his background. They migrated from Mexico where their native language was Spanish. He states that, “At home everyone spoke Spanish, so naturally his home was a sanctuary for him, being the only place that he could find refuge” (Rodriguez, 23). In the United States he was forced to study English in order to fit in the learning system of his new environment. On the other hand, the main character in the story “Dreaming in Cuban”, Celia Almeida, falls in love with a Spaniard. Unfortunately, their relationship does not last for long as Gustavo returns to Spain. This greatly disturbs her. Therefore, the two stories have a common element, Spain, where the characters in one way or another are influenced by Spanish.
Another similarity is that the two major characters experience the resultant effects of immigration. For Richard Rodriguez, he finds himself not fitting in his new environment. He is unable to use the language of his peers. He decides to learn English in order to conform to the new setting. He states that,” these books have made all that I am” (Rodriguez, 61). Celia Almeida also experiences negative effects of immigration. She had found a Spaniard lover whom she adored so much. However, just because he could not stay in the United States, she loses him when his time to go back to Spain comes. Moreover, she is punished by her husband, Jorge del Pino who is jealousy for her past with Gustavo. Her mother-in-law also mistreats her as her husband goes for a long trip. In a letter Celia addresses Gustavo as, ““My dearest” (Christina, 29). This shows that she still longs for the lost love. Thus, these two stories depict some of the consequences of immigration to the characters.
Some of the differences in the two stories include the following: firstly, Richard Rodriguez migrated from Mexico where his native language was Spanish. In the United States he could not fit in school as he was not well versed with English. Thus, he could not perform well. He decided to learn the new language. His family was advised to use English in order to aid the learning process of their son.
On the contrary, Celia Almeida migrated from Cuba to the United States. Fortunately, she did not need to learn the new language. She could fit into the new system and relate even with a man from Spain. Fortunately, she was not scholar at the time. Thus, in social setting, she was able to live and communicate with different people effectively. Thus, Celia was older than Richard Rodriguez and was above the school age. The two characters go through different experiences in terms of their language as well as their influence to the people they relate with.
Rodriguez lost the bond with his family members by the virtue that he decided to learn English. Eventually the communication between him and his parents became almost impossible. For instance, his mother asks, “what are you reading? Or tell me all about your courses” (Rodriguez, 52). Moreover, he states that, “because of my schooling I had grown culturally from my parents, my education had given me ways of speaking and caring about that fact” (Rodriguez, 54). They could not understand each other. Indeed, Rodriguez found it hard even to hear his native language. He even regretted for the broken bonds between the family members. He was always frustrated. On the other hand, Almeida did not experience troubles in the use of language with her children. On her part, she goes through family problems, especially with her husband. For instance, the writer states, “Pilar discovers that her father is cheating on her mother” (Cristina, 82).
In conclusion, the two novels share similar themes in terms of experiences that the two major characters go through. However, there are vivid differences in the way the two writers develop their characters and the activities they undertake.