75 pages 2 hours read

Sandra Cisneros


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2002

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Part 3 Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 3: “The Eagle and the Serpent, or My Mother and My Father”

Part 3, Introduction Summary

Lala explains, “For a long time I thought the eagle and the serpent on the Mexican flag were the United States and Mexico fighting. And then, for an even longer time afterward, I thought of the eagle and the serpent as the story of Mother and Father” (235). She then deconstructs the particular style of fighting her mother and father have, which often consists of her mother needling him with repeated phrases, like “Te hablo, te hablo” (235), as he attempts to ignore her by watching boxing, Pedro Infante movies, soccer matches, or simply going to sleep. In order to get his attention, however, Lala’s mother can always throw “the biggest” verbal “rock”: “Tu familia…Your family” (235).

Part 3, Chapter 52 Summary: “Cielito Lindo”

Chapter 52 begins with a scene of The Awful Grandmother riding in the car to Chicago with the family. The grandmother is moving to Chicago with them because the grandfather has recently died. She teaches the family a Mexican song, which Lala refuses to sing because she thinks it’s corny. Inocencio tells Lala she is just like her mother, and Lala resents this idea.

The grandmother reflects back to the day in Acapulco when Lala’s mother demanded that Inocencio choose between them.