When I Was Puerto Rican

Delsa Character Analysis

Delsa is Mami and Papi's second child, and Negi’s sister. She's exceptionally beautiful and Mami and Papi refer to her as Muñequita, or "little doll." Negi says that Delsa can make perfect beans by age nine, and when she arrives in Brooklyn at 11 years old, she already looks like a woman.

Delsa Quotes in When I Was Puerto Rican

The When I Was Puerto Rican quotes below are all either spoken by Delsa or refer to Delsa. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Da Capo Press edition of When I Was Puerto Rican published in 2006.
1. Jíbara Quotes

Doña Zena dragged Delsa and Norma into her yard, while I straggled behind, fretting about what had just happened, jealous that, even though my lap had been stolen years ago by Delsa and then Norma, another baby was coming to separate me further from my mother, whose rages were not half so frightening as the worry that she would now be so busy with an infant as to totally forget me.

Related Characters: Negi (speaker), Mami, Delsa, Norma, Héctor
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
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Delsa Character Timeline in When I Was Puerto Rican

The timeline below shows where the character Delsa appears in When I Was Puerto Rican. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Jíbara
Identity Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...stay and help. Negi slowly goes to help Mami. Negi asks why her younger sisters, Delsa and Norma, don't have to help. Mami swats Negi for talking back. (full context)
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...to a thicket. A butterfly flies close to Mami's head and she swats it away. Delsa and Norma join Negi and Mami and show them a hen's nest. Mami says they... (full context)
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Coming of Age Theme Icon
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Delsa and Norma come out for their oatmeal. Negi says that Mami calls Delsa "Muñequita" (little... (full context)
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When Papi puts in the new floor, Mami asks Negi and Delsa to find stones to plug the holes in the dirt floor of the house. Delsa... (full context)
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Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
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Negi and Delsa creep past Mami, who looks very angry. As they pass her, Mami hits both girls... (full context)
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...Papi arriving with two neighbor women, Doña Lola and Doña Zena. The women usher Negi, Delsa, and Norma up the road. Delsa and Norma wail. (full context)
2. Fighting Naked
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...not stupid. Héctor begins to cry and Mami roughly changes his diaper. Negi notices that Delsa and Norma are awake, and she listens to Mami say that she's sick of Papi... (full context)
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Romantic Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Negi shrieks for Papi to not leave them and Delsa and Norma join the cry. Héctor begins wailing as Mami starts yelling and throwing Papi's... (full context)
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...could have together, since Margie could keep up with Negi's games unlike little Norma or Delsa. The next day, Negi asks Mami why she doesn't like Provi, and Mami tells her... (full context)
3. Someone is Coming to Take Your Lap
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Coming of Age Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
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...spends most of her time in the kitchen cooking while relatives sit at their table. Delsa and Norma play with female cousins, while Negi runs with her male cousins. (full context)
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...prayer. Negi falls asleep to the sounds of the prayer and wakes up next to Delsa at home the next morning. Mami snaps at Negi that she's not going to school... (full context)
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...comes to get Negi and the children. The children are scared hearing Mami scream and Delsa tries to comfort everyone. Negi tells some of Don Berto's stories that night, and when... (full context)
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Romantic Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...that it's good luck to get wet in the first May rain, and she leads Delsa and Héctor into the rain. Finally Negi and Norma join, form a circle, and sing.... (full context)
4. The American Invasion of Macún
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...they'll be vaccinated for polio. When Mami fills out the consent forms for Negi and Delsa, she tells them how horrible polio is. On vaccination day, Negi is terrified, since every... (full context)
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...for later. She pulls out several items of beautiful, barely-worn clothing for Negi, Norma, and Delsa to try on. Norma remarks that their cousins must be rich, but Mami says that... (full context)
6. Mami Gets a Job
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...day, Negi takes advantage of Mami's absence and goes onto the farm to harvest grapefruits. Delsa tattles when Mami asks where they came from. Mami isn't angry; she just tells Negi... (full context)
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One day, Delsa comes home and says that Jenny got a bike and is giving everyone a ride.... (full context)
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...tries to tell Jenny that Raymond is too young, but Jenny insists. Negi yells at Delsa and Norma that they should know better, but they laugh and chase after Jenny and... (full context)
7. El Mangle
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Later, as Doña Andrea feeds Negi, Norma, and Delsa, she tells them that if you hit your mother, you can't be buried, because your... (full context)
10. Dreams of a Better Life
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...to let him, and asks who wants to carry Negi's books. When Negi mentions Johannes, Delsa, Norma, and Alicia taunt Negi about having a boyfriend. Mami doesn't recognize Johannes' last name... (full context)
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Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
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Romantic Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...She buys suitcases and decides that Negi, Raymond, and Edna will go with her, while Delsa, Norma, Héctor, and Alicia will stay until Mami can afford to send for them. Mami... (full context)