When I Was Puerto Rican

When I Was Puerto Rican Epilogue Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A decade after Negi graduated from the Performing Arts High School, she returns to visit her mentor, one of the women who conducted her audition. Negi's mentor smiles and remembers Negi's audition out loud, saying that they asked Negi to leave so they could laugh at the absurdity of a 14-year-old Puerto Rican girl reciting an incomprehensible monologue about a possessive mother-in-law. She tells Negi that they admired her courage.
A decade plus later, Negi's fluctuating identity as a teenager is a source of humor and the reason Negi was accepted to the school. This shows that Negi's code switching was a positive thing despite the pain and confusion it caused her at the time. Negi also seems to have found a strong community outside of her family.
Themes
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Family Theme Icon
Negi is now a scholarship student at Harvard. She tells her mentor that she's the only one of her siblings at school, and says Mami had 11 children by the time Negi graduated. Her mentor asks Negi if she ever thinks about how far she's come, and Negi replies that she fears it'll jinx her luck to think about it.
Negi has experienced great success since moving to New York and specifically since getting into the Performing Arts school. This shows that her acceptance was truly a turning point in her life.
Themes
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Coming of Age Theme Icon
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Negi's mentor tells Negi a story: on Negi's first day at Performing Arts, she was absent and the school called her house. Negi had told them that she had nothing to wear, and they asked to speak to Mami. Negi, in tears, interpreted for Mami that Negi had to go to the welfare office to translate. The mentor assured Negi that several students at the school received public assistance, and Negi came to school the next day. Negi tells her mentor that she's glad she made the phone call.
Even when Negi had the opportunity to go to a prestigious school, she still remained loyal and reliable to her family by accompanying Mami to the welfare office. The mentor's actions show that she occupies a very familial role in Negi’s life—it seems she truly found support and stability in the school.
Themes
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Negi's mentor says she has to teach a class, hugs Negi, and tells her to take care. Negi watches her walk away and wanders through the hallways of the school. She finds the bulletin board of successful students and studies it. She says "one of these days" to herself.
Negi's identity is still changing, even now that she's in her twenties. She's still a hybrid of identities and still has goals to accomplish even though she's no longer a confused teenager. The process of forming one's identity and “coming of age” continues into adulthood.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Get the entire When I Was Puerto Rican LitChart as a printable PDF.
When i was puerto rican.pdf.medium