Coming of Age as an Immigrant Child Bride

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By Jennine Capу Crucet

The titular Dominicana of Angie Cruz’s third novel refers to both her narrator, Ana, and a hollow ceramic doll that functions as a vessel for several her secrets. It’s an apt metaphor for Ana’s role in her family: carrying within herself almost all their hopes to ultimately create a life in the usa.

The novel starts within the Dominican countryside with a marriage proposition, by the 28-year-old Juan to an 11-year-old Ana. Her moms and dads delay the engagement that is formal this woman is 15, and Ana and Juan are married on the final day’s 1964. The morning that is next fly to new york, where Juan began their life in the us years previously. “This wedding is larger than me,” Ana confides. “Juan could be the solution for people to sooner or later head to America.” Her story has a portrait that is intimate of transactional nature of wedding additionally the economics of both womanhood and citizenship, one all too familiar to a lot of first-generation People in america.

An alcoholic day-worker and business owner, Juan quickly turns abusive, slapping her “so you keep in mind, once I say to not ever make a move, you must respect it.” Ana quickly learns she’s pregnant; in a page “so slim and wet through the moisture” of her house nation, her mom calls the child “gold within the bank.” While the months pass, we come across in real-time exactly just exactly how an individual can be ground straight down day by time, as Ana is taught by both her mom along with her spouse you may anticipate less and less away from life. Ana’s world seems oppressive in its confinement: Juan rarely allows her keep their building (“Don’t start the entranceway for anybody. Don’t leave the apartment”). The few times she disobeys him are her only opportunities at adventure, filling Ana with a mixture of relief, terror and pride.

You will find restrictions to Cruz’s choice to“Dominicana” that is narrate Ana’s present-tense perspective; often times the novel ventures into scenes that Ana can’t possibly realize about. While we’re often told she’s piecing these together from conversations she’s overheard, more frequently such moments quickly pull us from the desire Ana’s otherwise compelling vocals. Having said that, this short-term disorientation just brings your reader nearer to Ana’s very own consciousness that is disoriented.

The brief, episodic chapters follow Ana’s new lease of life in nyc, interspersed with nostalgic dips into her youth. She comes to define her new American self — these encounters often trigger memories of her family back home, of her mother’s warnings not to trust anyone as she gets to know Juan’s family and business acquaintances — characters against whom. There’s an implication that is lovely this weaving of this everyday lives swirling around her very own: the feeling that Ana’s story is playing down repeatedly in other flats, other buildings, other communities across this nation, across centuries.

Ultimately, governmental unrest forces Juan to come back towards the Dominican Republic. His oppressive force lifted, Ana happens to be able to develop her very own separate way of the United states dream. By using her brother-in-law Cйsar, she starts food that is selling factory employees, finally becoming an autonomous financial engine, fueled by her aspire to bring her household to relative security in america. a event shows her the likelihood of a partnership where love — in the place of responsibility — reaches the middle. However for Ana, to select this love could be a betrayal not merely of her spouse, but additionally of her mom, who has got unfairly put the duty of securing her family members’s turn during the United states dream solely on the arms. Finally, we see just just just how no body must have to help make this type of trade-off.