I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

by

Erika L. Sánchez

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter: Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Julia is barely halfway through the second semester of her junior year, but all she can think of is going away to college. When she’s home alone—a rarity—she occupies herself by searching for the key to Olga’s room, but hasn’t been able to find it anywhere. She feels as if she’s hit a dead end when it comes to more clues about Olga’s life, but has come up with three last ways to try to get some information: visit Olga’s work, try to get her transcripts from the community college, and ask Juanga to help her get in touch with Jazmyn.
Julia will not give up hope on her quest to get more information about Olga. It’s become less and less clear, though, what her goal is—whether she really wants to understand, for her own satisfaction, who her sister was, or whether she’s simply looking for dirt on Olga as a way of making herself feel better about her own continually-mounting mistakes and failures.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Family, Immigrant Cultural Identity, and the Self Theme Icon
One day after school. Julia takes the train to Olga’s drab and dreary community college. She finds the registrar’s building and approaches the record desk, repeating the script she’s written for herself in her head. When she gets up to the desk, she introduces herself, explains that Olga is dead, and asks for her transcripts. The woman behind the desk asks for Olga’s dates of attendance, and Julia gives them to her. When the woman enters the numbers into the computer, though, she seems puzzled. Julia asks what’s wrong, but the woman behind the desk says she can’t tell her anything or release any of Olga’s records until a year after the date of her death.
Just as Julia failed to convince the concierge at The Continental that she needed to know what her sister’s association with the place, she is failing to get the registrar to give her any information—though it seems as if perhaps the registrar has uncovered something strange, anomalous, or unsettling.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Julia is furious, and begs the woman to make an exception—the registrar is staunch, though, and asks Julia to step aside and let the other people in line have their turn. Julia begins screaming at the woman, accusing her of being soulless and ugly to boot. It is only when the registrar threatens to call security that Julia storms out of the building.
Julia is not going to simply walk out of the college the way she walked out of The Continental—she’s desperate, deteriorating, and angrier than ever, and launches into a trademark tirade before making an exit. The desperation that drives her search—a desperation not even Julia seems to fully understand—is in full evidence here.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon