universal theme, we are meant to appreciate that the protagonists are Puerto Rican immigrants. So the Spanish diction has a twofold purpose: focus the reader’s attention on the plot’s core, and pull the reader into it imperceptibly.
These translated examples of Spanish continue for a few more pages, as real culture shock does. Three pages on, Corazón reflects on the powerful abandonment with which she, as a virgin, gave herself to Manuel when she met him; she says he was her “destiny, el destino” (97). At this point in her reflection, the two had only made plans, not taken action, and Corazón’s older sister, Consuelo, conspires to thwart their swift resolve. The next example of Spanish diction signals that the consummation of the two protagonists is nearing. After Consuelo’s wedding, Corazón helps her newly married sister, Consuelo, remove “the little crown of fresh flowers, azucenas, white lilies from her hair” (99), even though Corazón is fully aware that her older sister Consuelo had engineered affairs so she could be married before Corazón beat her to the altar—certain humiliation in her Hispanic culture. Corazón’s gracious assistance to her conniving elder sister indicates that she is, as her name suggests, a woman of good heart, and thus an excellent match for the equally benevolent Manuel. The use of azucenas also helps emphasize a shift in the story’s movement—Corazón holding her older sister’s “white lilies” is now herself free to marry.
The next examples of Spanish diction occur in the “belly” of the story, and their meanings are mostly discerned by their contexts, and not usually by outright definition. The culture is taking us in. On our way to these instances, Cofer fills four pages of her prose with lip-smacking aromas and tempting edibles, and they, and the Spanish diction highlighting them, come to symbolize the symbiotic and very intimate physical relationship existing between Corazón and Manuel. For example, Corazón remembers the “warm milk sweetened with