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My Broken Language


A Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright tells her lyrical coming of age story in a ...
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How do you feel the Philadelphia setting functions as a character and how do you think the author relates to it?

Created: 01/06/22

Replies: 5

Posted Jan. 06, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2913

How do you feel the Philadelphia setting functions as a character and how do you think the author relates to it?

The Philadelphia setting is intrinsic to this book. How do you feel the setting functions as a character and how do you think the author relates to it?


Posted Jan. 07, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JMW

Join Date: 01/03/22

Posts: 12

RE: How do you feel the Philadelphia ...

The city of Philadelphia is a multi-faceted character. Initially, it is just the barrio where Quaira lives and is a center of Puerto Rican culture and language, set apart from the rest of the city. Later, when Quiara goes to high school, she becomes acquainted with some of the whiter sections of the city and a different cultural milieu. Quiara is a young woman who often finds herself leaving the comfort of home (the barrio) and having to adapt or at least survive in what is at first an alien environment. Having lived in the Philadelphia area for about 20 years in the 1980's and 90's, I knew some streets she mentioned, but definitely not others. That added to my ability to engage with her book.


Posted Jan. 07, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 265

RE: How do you feel the Philadelphia ...

Philadelphia feels like a character in the book because Quiara becomes more alive when she’s there. It brings out the part of her culture that seems most authentic to me.


Posted Jan. 08, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 231

RE: How do you feel the Philadelphia ...

I agree with JMW's observations. Within Philadelphia there are many neighborhoods representing the cultural diversity at the heart of the book. But this also becomes a metaphor for Quiara's straddling two different worlds as she takes the hour-long train ride from her mother's home to her father's, we see this shift - from the colorful but very financially strained world in West Philly to her father's manicured more staid home on Tinker Hill Lane in the suburbs.


Posted Jan. 20, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 603

RE: How do you feel the Philadelphia ...

Well, since it's a memoir and where Quiara spent most of her childhood, it's certainly important. Growing up in a city, whether it be Philly or Cleveland (where I was born) is an incredible experience I don't think you can get in the suburbs. There's more diversity, more noise... and I don't mean that in a bad way. There's just more activity, more life, really. She would have turned out a completely different person if she'd grown up in a more rural area, and I think she realizes that the city was integral to her being.


Posted Jan. 21, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susannak

Join Date: 01/06/22

Posts: 5

RE: How do you feel the Philadelphia ...

As in Chicago, Philadelphia has segments of the city that are mostly inhabited by those of the same culture. It was natural for her to follow that which she was
comfortable. Seemed like a fun and festive environment in contrast to the more staid and established ways of her father.


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