Volar by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Volar is a short story about an immigrant family of Guatemalans published by Judith Ortiz Cofer. The father came to America to give his wife and daughter the American Dream. The concept of the American Dream has been bound to the notion of civil liberty, religious equality, and a house in the suburbs for generations now. Any minor child in Judith Cofer’s “Liviar” has traditional American aspirations. Comment by Mikage Kuroki: Enclose the title of short stories in quotation marks. Develop this intro para by adding a 3-4 sentence summary of the story. Who is the narrator, and what essentially happens in the story? Comment by Mikage Kuroki: Cofer was Puerto Rican in heritage. Also, this story refers to “the Island,” but Guatemala is not an island. Comment by Mikage Kuroki: Work on the organization of info in your intro. This particular sentence appears to be the intro’s hook. Move the hook to the beginning of your intro and follow it with a few sentences explaining what you say about the American Dream. Intro para structure: HOOK + explanation of hook Introduce “Volar” by title and by author Summarize “Volar” in 3-4 sentences End with your arguable thesis. What exactly are you arguing in this paper? Are you trying to make an argument about the narrator/protagonist and the American Dream? If so, what is that exact argument? Comment by Mikage Kuroki: What is “liviar”? Clarify your point: what do you mean by “any minor child”? Children are by definition “minors.” Also, there’s only 1 minor described in “Volar” – the narrator and protagonist of this story.
For many Americans, the traditional image of the American dream includes houses, green grass, and money, but it is not always that way. Most likely, they see a suburban family with two kids, a girl and a boy, who live in a white house a block away from any neighbors, playing in the yard on a redwood fence with their golden retriever. The father may be a business executive, coach, or stay-at-home momma, and the mother may be something in between. One of the family’s two vehicles is maintained, the family still has barbecues, and the family takes their vacations throughout the summer. Besides, an ideal American existence often includes an abstract component. It covers the liberties such as religious rights, the press, expression, and the ability to express one’s views. Her noble purpose included freedom, equality, order, and character; it also possessed many good people’s traits. Like most children, including the heroine in “Volar,” they feel that getting their long-term goals would fulfill them. Comment by Mikage Kuroki: OK, this discussion is about the American Dream in general so make it part of your intro para, using it as your “explanation of the hook.” See suggested intro strategy above. Comment by Mikage Kuroki: To whom are you referring here when you say, “her”? Are you referring to the narrator in this story? Clarify. Comment by Mikage Kuroki: You cannot simply make this claim; you also have to prove it with supporting evidence (quotation, summary, and/or paraphrase from “Volar” plus your own discussion/analysis). Add evidence and discussion/analysis.
This girl is in sync with the American Dream, though she expresses her desires in metaphorical terms. Physical presentation fantasies are the most realistic. She has a vision of herself as a “Supergirl,” having long blond hair and flying (Cofer 204). She wants to transform into a girl with long, heavy, golden hair and hard-shelled legs, who looks and feels stunning in her imagination. The little girl has black hair and dark eyes, but the reverse applies to her: she aspires to have fair skin and blonde hair. Although she might not be stunning to everyone’s standards, she is beautiful in her way. Every morning, she finds herself in the same state as before, “…even skinnier than I was before.” Comment by Mikage Kuroki: What exactly is the main idea of this para? Remember that body paras also have to support your thesis. Perhaps you could argue that her dreams of being someone other than who she is in reality suggests her limited ability to reach the American Dream? Comment by Mikage Kuroki: –Avoid ending paragraphs with quotations. Always interpret quotations.
What do you suppose started the thinking she wanted to dress like everyone else? The media did that to him? Reunion? Even her own family? Is she only in it for the money, or does she want to stand out as a beautiful woman? It is the best guess that she is self-doubting. She feels unattractive in her own eyes, and therefore, desires to be a different being. But do not be too critical of her looks. She might feel like an outsider at school and be ridiculed, and her parents will not treat her with any respect, or she might either not have the sense of being at home. No matter how she views things, she sees it; there is still some inner model that this little girl has in mind that takes on various physical characteristics. Comment by Mikage Kuroki: Unclear discussion. Some of this discussion seems to continue the point you make in your previous para. Add that part to your previous para.
And in other words, the little girl aspires to financial success. Many consider money tangible since it is physical, but there are different definitions for the concept of wealth. She also appears in the little kid’s dream, depending on who is essential to her in the real world The landlord she goes to came up with who is involved in the community. The little girl may not like him, but it turns out that her parents played a joke on him. So his money has to be counted all over again. Does it seem much scarier” (the image that is created by the little girl describing the landlord as something she “knew my parents hated, wrapped in ermine and a big crown”), this picture seems ridiculous (this picture is laughable to me”). He made it very clear that he respects his family’s needs by sitting on the floor counting his money (Cofer 204). Comment by Mikage Kuroki: –Fully discuss your quotations; say more! Closely examine key phrases in the quoted passage if appropriate. Explain why the narrator sees the landlord in this way.
Not only does she know the landlord’s name, but she also has noticed how tiny their place is when she has described her room as feeling frustrated in her superhero dreams, she has written: Oppressive legalism is never satisfied; it becomes more oppressive the longer it persists; it never comes to rest; it is boundless persecution (An official tries to make one more law in reaction to the abuses which have come to light). She has a complete understanding of how little their room is. Like scraps, heaped of detritus from the windows of their building’s tenement” It was not very big enough for an adult to accommodate everyone, so it was not regularly washed (Cofer 205). At last, as the mother is urging them to take her family to Puerto Rico, the father says that it is too expensive to go to Puerto Rico. This immigrant family has not been able to provide for their daughter. Comment by Mikage Kuroki: Unclear point/discussion. Also, how does this discussion connect to your thesis?
Since she has been given nothing to work with, this girl would remain poor. It seems that she is an immigrant from Puerto Rico, among other immigrants (Cofer 204). she is not going to go to college due to her family’s financial situation. When looking at children of this generation, researchers noticed that they were about eight months ahead of children from the most deprived families, whose parents were frequently unemployed. It illustrates just how much class affects a child’s growth, even if he or she is aware of it at a young age. Even if her parents drive her hard to go to college to succeed financially, she would still not be happy. Her life is going to be one of quiet desperation or similar to it. Comment by Mikage Kuroki: Off-topic? Remember that everything that you say in your essay must be connected to your thesis/analysis of “Volar.” Where do you see this idea in the short story?
Last but not least, she desires to be able to drive. “Volar” means a lot of different things inside the plot. Metaphorically, the little girl is soaring in her dreams. If you want to think about this metaphorically, the mother wishes that her family could fly to Puerto Rico instead of being there. There is the possibility that the mother and daughter both hope for different things; but, it may also be spoken about as though the daughter wishes for her life to end. Riding in an airplane is both the quickest way to fly to another location and to feel free. Expecting they could travel seemed to suggest that they are trying to escape the hard life they are now experiencing and are searching for the quickest way to do so. They want to get away from being watched and get clean, alluding to the fact that they arrived in America to pursue more independence. Concretely, she would never be able to travel like a superhero. Also, in the more general context of flight, the little girl would never be able to extricate herself from the hold that her current life places over her freedom; the bird will never be able to break herself free. Comment by Mikage Kuroki: Word choice – “drive.” Do you mean “fly”? Comment by Mikage Kuroki: Vague pronoun. Instead of being where – in Puerto Rico, or in the U.S.? Comment by Mikage Kuroki: OK, your thesis is most clear here. You seem to argue that the narrator’s dream of being a superhero is connected to her desire for the American Dream, and the fact that she can’t be a superhero suggests that achieving the American Dream is impossible or difficult?
At the end of her three lessons, the girl sees the realization of three aspirations that sum up the American Dream: she hopes to be pretty, have plenty of wealth, and be free. While this little American girl is born in a poverty-stricken community, she can never fulfill these aspirations.
Cofer, Judith Ortiz. “Volar.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Kelly J. Mays. New York: W. W. Norton& Company, Inc., 2013. 277-279. Print.