I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

by

Erika L. Sánchez

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Julia isn’t allowed to leave the apartment. After going through the rest of her things, Amá found Julia’s diary—though Amá doesn’t speak English very well, she knows a bad word when she sees one, and has ripped out every page containing a bad word or a reference to sex or desire. Julia feels like a husk—life without her writing “doesn’t feel worth living.” Julia’s diary wasn’t just full of her feelings—her poems, too, have been destroyed, some of them representing months or years of hard work. Julia hasn’t spoken to Connor in three weeks, and she misses him so much she can barely stand it—but refuses to contact him, knowing he doesn’t want to “put up with all [her] problems.”
This passage shows just how little Amá understands Julia, and how little she tries to. Julia is devastated over the loss of all her hard work—unable to see or connect with her friends, unable to vent to her sister, and unable even to express her own thoughts in private, she feels completely boxed in.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Family, Immigrant Cultural Identity, and the Self Theme Icon
Poverty and Entrapment Theme Icon
Christmas vacation goes by, and it is almost as bad as the previous year’s. By the time Julia returns to school she’s so depressed that she can barely make it through a day without taking a crying break in the bathroom. Lorena and Mr. Ingman have expressed concern about Julia’s mental state, but she doesn’t know how to explain what she’s experiencing to either of them.
Julia feels profoundly alone. Even when others who care about her reach out in an attempt to help her, she feels so demoralized that she doesn’t see the point in talking about her feelings.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Poverty and Entrapment Theme Icon
One day, after school, Julia decides to take the bus downtown. She’s broke and cold, but needs some time to herself. In Millennium Park, she walks around the amphitheater and the ice-skating rink. She wishes she could go for a skate or buy some hot chocolate, but she’s completely broke, and begins to contemplate what the point of living is if she “can’t ever get what [she] want[s.]” Julia stands shivering in the cold for hours, unable to calm the swirling thoughts in her head.
Cut off from her friends, isolated emotionally and intellectually, out of place in her family, and faced with cyclical, inescapable poverty, Julia buckles mentally and physically under the weight of all her stress and grief in this bleak, lonely passage.
Themes
Secrets and Lies Theme Icon
Restlessness and Ambition Theme Icon
Family, Immigrant Cultural Identity, and the Self Theme Icon
Poverty and Entrapment Theme Icon