When I Was Puerto Rican

Tata Character Analysis

Tata is Mami's mother. She lives in New York with her "friend," Don Julio, and her brother Chico. She's quite tall and is generally very kind and generous to Negi, Mami, and their family. For most of the year, Tata drinks beer and wine through the evening. Don Julio says that Tata's blood never "thickened," so in the winter she starts drinking early in the day. When she drinks she gets very nasty, though she's still able to cook for and feed Mami's children when she's drunk.

Tata Quotes in When I Was Puerto Rican

The When I Was Puerto Rican quotes below are all either spoken by Tata or refer to Tata. 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.
12. You Don't Want to Know Quotes

Mami became, even more than before, both mother and father to us. We could count on her in a way we had never been able to count on Papi, Tata, or Francisco, who had made everyone happy for such a short time before dying and becoming a ghost that haunted us all for the rest of our lives.

Related Characters: Negi (speaker), Mami, Papi, Tata, Francisco
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:
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"Hit me, go ahead. You can kill me if that makes you feel better," I screamed loud enough for the world to hear. I stood in front of her, shaking all over, hands at my sides, martyrlike, fully aware of the dramatic moment that might backfire but willing to take the chance.

Related Characters: Negi (speaker), Mami, Tata
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Tata Character Timeline in When I Was Puerto Rican

The timeline below shows where the character Tata appears in When I Was Puerto Rican. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
3. Someone is Coming to Take Your Lap
Family Theme Icon
...has a number of family members in the city, although by this time, her mother, Tata, had left for Brooklyn. Negi's new home in Santurce is one room, but with running... (full context)
4. The American Invasion of Macún
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Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Another day, Mami unpacks a box of hand-me-down clothes from Tata. Mami is pregnant again and she puts away some clothes for herself for later. She... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Negi loves writing letters and relishes the opportunity to write to Tata. When she finishes, Mami reads the letter out loud. She insists that Negi made a... (full context)
8. Letters From New York
Coming of Age Theme Icon
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One day, Mami receives a letter from Tata. She gives Negi a personal note from Tata, which is unusual. Negi takes the letter... (full context)
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...disbelief that Mami didn't tell her she was going to New York. Mami explains that Tata made Raymond an appointment to see a foot specialist. She promises to come back for... (full context)
11. Angels on the Ceiling
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Romantic Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...passengers. Mami points them towards a tall woman in the terminal, whom Negi learns is Tata. Raymond runs to her, and Mami introduces Edna and Negi. Mami introduces the man with... (full context)
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...that Negi doesn't understand. Negi presses her face to the window and looks out while Tata and Mami tease her. Negi thought New York was going to be clean and lively,... (full context)
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Coming of Age Theme Icon
They arrive at a brick building and unload their belongings. Tata leads them into a hallway and into a small room. She introduces Negi to Chico,... (full context)
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Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...do the same thing the next day and buy Negi school clothes and a coat. Tata describes how cold the winters are and tells Mami how good Raymond and Edna were... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
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Negi comes home from school one day to find Mami packed and waiting. Tata helps Mami and Negi load their things into a cab to move to a larger... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
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...how to handle it, but shows her where she keeps her Kotex hidden. Mami tells Tata and they celebrate. The next day, Mami brings Negi white bras from the factory where... (full context)
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Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
While Mami works in Manhattan, Tata watches the children after school. Tata begins drinking wine or beer early in the day,... (full context)
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Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Romantic Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...who lives across the street. He buys Mami flowers and brings the children candy, but Tata doesn't like him. Mami visits Francisco nightly and always comes home happy. One night, when... (full context)
12. You Don't Want to Know
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Romantic Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...time that Francisco is diagnosed with cancer. Mami moves her children again so that both Tata and Francisco can live with them. Tata is nice to Francisco when he's home, but... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
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...a stack of books, Mami screams at her for being out late and talking back. Tata tries to call Mami off of Negi, but Mami persists. Negi isn't sure what Mami... (full context)