- “During his two visits, the grandfather had stood guard by the crib all day, speaking to little Carlos. ‘Charles the Fifth; Charles Dickens; Prince Charles.’ He enumerated the names of famous Charleses in order to stir up genetic ambition in the boy. “Charlemagne,” he cooed at him also, for the bay was large and big-boned with blond fuzz on his pale pink skin, and blue eyes just like his German father’s. All the grandfather’s Caribbean fondness for a male heir and for fair Nordic looks had surfaced. There was not good blood in the family against a future bad choice by one of its women.
‘You can be president, you were born here,’ the grandfather crooned. ‘You can go to the moon, maybe even to mars by the time you are of my age.’
His macho baby talk brought back Sofia’s old antagonism towards her father. How obnoxious for him to go on and on like that while beside him stood his little granddaughter, wide eyed and sad at all the things her baby brother, no bigger than one of her dolls, was going to be able to do just because he was a boy” (26-27).
- Reflect on Sofia’s struggle with her father. Why does she consider his “cooing” to her son “obnoxious”? What do his predictions for little Carlos’ life reveal regarding the perception of the role of women in Dominican culture? Explain your thinking.