Sirena selena pages 52 107
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Sirena selena pages 52-107. By Mayra santos-febres . By: Sabryne and Amber. Background info. On author Mayra Santos-Febres . Born in 1966, of Puerto Rican descent Is currently an Associate Literature Professor at the University of Puerto Rico.

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Sirena selena pages 52 107

Sirena selenapages 52-107

By Mayra santos-febres

By: Sabryne and Amber


Background info on author mayra santos febres

Background info. On author Mayra Santos-Febres

  • Born in 1966, of Puerto Rican descent

    • Is currently an Associate Literature Professor at the University of Puerto Rico.

  • She’s won critical acclaim for her two books of poetry and short stories including two prizes:

    • Letras de Oro Prize from the University of Miami (1994)

    • Juan Rulfo Prize awarded by Radio Sarandi in Paris (1997)

  • Published a collection of short stories called Pez de Vidrio containing 15 short stories on the topics of:

    • sexual desire, race, identity, social class, and political status in the present day Caribbean society


  • Quotes

    Quotes

    • “…Her face was a perfect balance of make up and chimera. Valentina never seemed completely done up, she never exaggerated the tone of rouge, or lip pencil, she never wore wigs. Her midnight auburn tresses were all hers; the starved yet well-muscled, frame hers; the risqué, but never clownish, sense of fashion, all hers. It took her years to obtain the happy transformation of her body into pure luxury; years leafing through beauty magazines, catalogs of haute couture, make up manuals…the most beautiful and daring of all dragas on the coast…” (Febres 58)

    Discussion Questions:

    Why do you think Sirena admired/ idolized Valentina so much?

    Could there be underlying reasons rooted in her childhood? Perhaps a result

    of not having a mother to look up to?


    Quotes valentina frenesi

    QUOTEs: Valentina Frenesi

    • “…Valentina took care of him while he was recuperating. She made him give up the street, and she worked double to pay for medicine, bandages, food. She prepared chicken broth, rice, mashed potatoes, and small pieces of stewed veal to settle her protégé stomach…” (Febres 67)

    • “…Promise me you wont let this ever happen to you ever again…” (Febres 67)

    • “He had to return to work the streets now and then. Those nights Valentina watched him like a hawk. She waited on the corner with a hit of coca in her hand, ready to alleviate the fear of death that came over Sirenito as soon as he climbed into a client’s car. Valentina made all the arrangements herself; out of the corner of her eye she memorized the license number of the car…and she made him renew his promise never to let anyone stick it in him again, not even for all the money in the world…” (Febres 69)

    • “…And I would die if something happened to you again…” (Febres 69)

    Discussion Questions:

    1) Do you see any differences between Martha and Valentina?

    2) Does Valentina seem more maternally and emotionally involved with Sirena?

    3)Does her love seem conditional or unconditional? Does this seem more like a business relationship?


    Quotes understanding sirena selena

    Quotes:understanding Sirena Selena

    • “Pero se murio, Tina. She died. No one else in my family has lifted a finger for me. So I just have to take care of myself. Use what I have to my advantage. And where else can I do that? Where am I going to earn cold hard cash?” (Febres, 66)

    • “…and Sirena feeling like the unhappiest being on the face of the earth, threw himself into the cotton-filled breasts and the muscular arms of his hermana-she was more family to him than his own.” (Febres 66)

    • “…With his silent crying he could tell his sister everything, better than with words-the pain of abandonment by his mother, the death of his grandmother, the sleepless nights looking for a place to rest, the anxiety of living with the constant danger of a run-in, fed up with everything, mistrusting even his own shadow, accustomed to being unloved, used to the filthy lust that thrives in the street, esa calle, that was his home and his grave…” (Febres 67)

    Discussion Questions:

    Do you think that Sirena Selena’s rooted issues of abandonment and lack of security have in some way led to her current lifestyle?

    2) Do you think that in some way, she fulfills the desire to feel loved and comforted by sleeping with different men? Or does it just have to do with making money and surviving?


    Quotes similarities

    Quotes:similarities

    • “…Not Leocadio. He just likes to stay at home or clean houses with me or spend hours fixing up the patio, sweeping leaves. Sometimes the patrona lets me take him to her house and he keeps himself busy looking at the plants and thinking up new ways to combine them in the gardens…and he really clings to me” (Febres, 56)

    • “…When he began to feel better, Sirenito started to help with makeup sessions, to run errands, to take care of pieces of Valentina’s wardrobe, to choose bases that obscured more effectively the shadow of her beard. Alert to any need of his hermana’s, he spent the whole day cleaning the apartment…” (Febres, 67)

    Discussion Questions:

    • 1) Do you see any similarities between Leocadio and Sirena Selena?

    • 2) Do Leocadio’s qualities in any way remind you of Sirena Selena’s characteristics?

    • 3) Do you think they’re both afraid of losing or being rejected by those who’ve shown them love and security? Are they in some way motivated by the fear of losing protection?


    Quotes regaining sight

    Quotes:regaining sight

    • “…Before when he was overcome with melancholy, he would hum tunes or sing bits of the chorus, but the bolero itself escaped him, as if he suffered from an illness that made him forget the words as soon as he remembered the melody. However, that night, for some reason, he remembered an entire bolero and then another and another. Abuela…she was bringing all the boleros to his breast, word for word, the perfect memory of their melodies. Each song made his face hot, made him feel things that he had dispatched as useless…” (Febres 69)

    • “…Sirenito regained his sight. He waited for the client to release his face and drive him back to his corner. He took the money in payment for his services and got out of the car. He didn’t even count the bills…his abuela’s boleros were all the wealth he needed to protect himself from nights on the street forever…” (Febres 70)

    Discussion Questions:

    What about Abuela’s boleros gave him his spirit back? Why do you think this happened?

    What do you think his grandmother is symbolic of , or rather how is she represented in the life of Sirena Selena?


    Quotes understanding hugo

    Quotes: Understanding Hugo

    • “The people looked at him without seeing him, or pretending that they didn’t see him, the son of Don Marcial Graubel, that feeble white boy who looked like a girl” (Santos- Febres 104).

      • Discussion question:

        • Do you think Don Marcial Graubel took Hugo to have sex with a female to rid his son of the image he was known for? If so why do you think the act of his son sleeping with a female would accomplish this goal?

          “Maybe the party will let Hugo out of the bad mood he’s been in for months now. What is going on with him? Nothing seems to suit him lately. Who know, maybe he’ll be impressed with how careful and efficient I’ve been….and finally he’ll be happy. Who knows, maybe after the guests leave, he’ll want to….where did I put my lingerie? I should take it out and leave it on the bed…just in case.”( Febres 74)

      • Discussion question:

        • Do you think the trauma Hugo experienced as a young man created a sense of resentment towards women? Can we actually see this resentment in his relationship with his wife?


    Hugo s masculinity with sirena selena

    Hugo’s masculinity with Sirena selena

    • Hugo’s sense of masculine identity:

      • Discussion Questions-

        • In the book, the author described Hugo’s experience with Eulalia as a “ritual”; in regards to masculinity do you believe when a male loses his virginity it transforms him into a man?

        • How do you think Hugo represents the masculine dominant role? Or do you see any gender role playing going on between Sirena Selena and Hugo?

    • Hugo and Selena:

  • “He took a cigarette from his pocket, lighted it, moved over to a wicker chair, and sat down. As if in a movie theater, he watched the delicate, wicked boy- woman gracefully setting the stage for her intricate love song?” ( Santos-Febres 107)

    • Discussion Questions:

      • Hugo seems to have an intense infatuation with Selena, where do you think this emotion comes from?

      • What do you think Hugo’s intentions are with her? Can we deem them to be merely sexual, or can we say that he is intrigued by her performativity and desires that for himself? Is it more of a sexual tension or would you say mere curiosity?


  • Martha s transformation

    Martha’s transformation

    Without heels I couldn’t walk from here to the corner, not even if I had a gun to my head. “It took so much work to learn the difficult art of mastering the stilettos and the thin straps, at the beginning of her transformation. A whole year it took her to forget the mannerisms of the Pentecostal youth she once was; to learn about glamour, begin collecting dainty poses, the eyelash-batting, the smiles of famous singers, the undulating runway walk, until she found the perfect combination of her new identity” (Santos-Febres 90)

    • Discussion Question:

      • Can an identity be truly replacedregardless of a sex-change? Do effects still linger? Do you think that the belief of getting a sex change to “become one” has in some way led Martha and other drag queens to believe that life will be perfect after that?


    Clips and questions

    Clips and questions

    • Do you think the performance of drag in and of itself can skew or threaten an individual’s own sexual identity?

    • Do you think it just applies to those who “haven’t come out of the closet” yet or can it go beyond?

      • Confessions of a Drag Queen

  • Do you think that it can serve as a foundation to help those who are undecided about their sexuality? In what ways?

    • Confessions of a Drag Queen 2


  • References

    REFERENCES

    • Last, F. M. (Year Published) Book. City, State: Publisher.

    • Santos-Febres, Mayra. (2000) Sirena Selena. New York: Picador

    • http://vimeo.com/14327115

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB4UK53tkZU&feature=youtu.be

    THANK YOU!


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