Subject Literature Literature Analysis

Question

In what ways was When I Was Puerto Rican a novel about Diaspora?
We discussed that very little of book was dedicated to the Santiago family actually living in New York, yet the book functioned similarly to other explicitly Diaspora texts we read this semester.
What might this lead one to conclude about what a Diaspora?
What is it trying to accomplish?

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When I Was Puerto Rican: Diaspora Literature
Esmeralda Santiago’s When I Was Puerto Rican is a vivid example of Puerto Rican Diaspora literature. The book discusses Santiago’s childhood, split between Puerto Rico and the United States. Santiago starts the book in Macun, Puerto Rico at the age of four, and concludes the book as a high school student in New York City. Santiago undergoes extraordinary challenges while attempting to assimilate into American culture, including learning English (as Spanish was her native language), making friends, and achieving in school. Santiago’s own experience is remarkable, but the transition that she undergoes as an immigrant and a part of the Puerto Rican Diaspora is commonplace. As a result, we can look at Santiago’s experience and apply it to the vast majority of Puerto Rican immigrants, who came to the United States looking for a better life....

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