Aunt Rosana

’s Rocker-Hispanic-American Literature Essay, Research Paper

Aunt Rosana s Rocker

As times change, everything changes with it. The roles

that women take on have changed in certain cultures, but in

some cultures they have remained the same. Before, men were

treated with more respect and superiority, while women had

no voices or say in the events that took place in their

society. Today, there are situations where men are taken

more seriously than women, but slowly, women are being

treated with respect and play an active role in their

community and have involved themselves within their

community. In certain cases the roles never change because

the people do not change along with the society. In those

cases, the roles are usually permanent because of their

character or personalities and how they were raised. The

ways that some people were raised and their environment are

the direct cause to why they may be the way they are. Aunt

Rosana s Rocker by Nicholasa Mohr presents a story where it

discusses the lives of a married couple and how they are

struggling with issues that involve not only the marriage,

but themselves. In a way, it does not directly talk about

the different roles they play, but it can be seen and

understood through the events that take place and through

the way the characters act.

Castro, who is one of the main characters of the story

is married to Zoraida. Zoraida s husband, Castro, is the

head of the family and is the one who is working and

supporting the family. He had even considered sleeping on

the living room couch, but he would not be driven out of his

own bed. He was still a man after all, a macho, master of

his home, someone to be reckoned with, not be pushed out.

(Aunt Rosana s Rocker pg. 81) Castro is a masculine figure

and takes on the role of the husband. He supports and takes

care of his family, but the character thinks of himself more

than a caretaker. He is prideful and arrogant. As a male

figure it is understandable that they may take on the role

of someone who is confident and strong, but Castro takes it

a step further by implying that he is the only one who is

capable of handling matters and is someone who only thinks

about himself.

There would be times that Castro would be portrayed as

someone who is patient and understanding, but underneath

that disguise he was a man who had intentions and only cared

for his own well being. Putting down his hands, Castro

opened his eyes. All he could do was wait patiently, as he

always did, wait for her to finish. (Aunt Rosana s Rocker

pg. 81) He had no slept properly since this whole affair

started. After all, he had to drive out to New Jersey to

earn his living and his strength and sleep were being sapped

away. (pg. 81) He would even tell his family good things

about his wife, but he was only doing so that he could

benefit from it. As a male figure, Castro wanted control and

wanted to have control of others. Every time I go near

her at night, or two or three in the morning, she relaxes.

He raised his hand and slammed the table, God damned

chair! He couldn t control Zoraida s sickness and make her

stop going to the rocking chair. He could not comprehend

what she was emotionally feeling and the issues that she had

with him and herself. He became even more upset because he

did not understand why some of the things that she did were

not the ways she treated him.

To think my handsome, healthy son, who could have had

any girl he wanted, picked this one. (pg. 89) The way

that Castro was raised helped him to be the way he was. His

mother s mentality of how his son was so handsome and better

than others may have caused Castro to think that he was

superior to others. He may be receiving his confidence

through this mother or it may be that he truly feels that he

is man of many qualities and talents. In a way, the issues

that he is having with his wife and how he constantly brings

up the idea that he is macho can be from his insecurity.

He may not be feeling man enough or may be even feeling that

he isn t being taken care of. It s a way to attract

attention and to be the center of attention. In this story,

there is a part where he doesn t understand why she doesn t

feel certain things with him. Castro remembered how she

always urged him to hurry, be quiet, and get it over with,

on account of the children. A lot she cares about him

tonight! Never in all their years of marriage had she ever

uttered such sounds-he shook his head-or shown any passion

or much interest in doing it. (pg. 82) Men believe that

they need to take on the role of a masculine figure, and to

be the best. Through his macho attitude, he is portraying

his insecurity indirectly. Physically he may be powerful

and strong, but his mind may be powerless.

Zoraida on the other hand is seen very timid and weak,

but inside she is a woman who contains much strength and

endurance. And, she s like, well, like a little stick

sparrow flirting with death and having the upperhand.

Quietly stubborn, you know? Now at all submissive like it

might seem to just anybody looking at Zoraida. It s more as

if nobody s gonna make the sparrow healthy, but it ain t

gonna die either…like it s got the best of both world,

see? (pg. 85) Not even knowing who she was Castro was

able to figure out how Zoraida was. This is what attracted

Castro to Zoraida in the beginning.

Her role as a woman was to be a mother and a wife.

She s clean, hardworking and obedient. (pg. 89) Zoraida

takes on her role as a housewife and finds herself only

being a housewife. She is powerless and shy when dealing

with her family. Go ahead. Answer, por Dios! I…

Zoraida cleared her throat in an effort to speak louder.

Since her husband is so loud and bold and the opposite from

her, her way of expressing or dealing with life is through

the rocking chair and through the sexual dreams that she had

at night. She looked over at the empty space near the

window. It was gone. She wouldn t be able to sit there

anymore and meet all her suitors and be beautiful. (pg.

95) Her rocking chair was a part of her and was a part of

her imaginary world that she created after she stopped

having the sexual dreams. For her to create this imaginary

world, she was lacking something from her husband or from

life. Although her husband is a hard worker, he does not

make her happy. This is where she is in control and where

she can be the most happy and away from all her troubles.

Lately, it had become the one place where she felt she

could be herself, where she could really be free. (pg. 94)

She could never be who she really wanted to be because of

her husband. She was slowly giving up and withdrawing from

her family and life itself.

As a woman, you are to be strong, but Zoraida wasn t

strong. She depended on a rocking chair to get through her

life troubles. She could not even depend on her own husband

who is supposed to be the male figure in her life.

Zoraida s mother on the other hand was different from her

own daughter. The relationship that her parents have are

much different, they depend on each other and look to each

other for support. Listen to me, Don Isidro spoke in a

firm voice, if it s the chair that bothers you, then we ll

take it back home with us. Right, Mama? He turned to Dona

Clara who nodded emphatically. There should be no

objection to that, eh? (pg. 93) Seeing this, her parents

have a balanced relationship where one or the other does not

have more power in the family.

Looking at it from a different point of view, the way

she was raised could be a factor in why she was so shy and

quiet. But, he too was lucky to get our Zoraida. After

all, we brung her up proper and right. (pg. 90) Growing

up, Zoraida may have been pampered and well taken care of

especially since she was born premature. The miracle

baby, they had said, Mr. Cuesta, your daughter is a

miracle. She should not be alive. (pg. 90) Hearing this,

any parent would have given their best to their child for

the reason that their own child may have not made it. Since

their child was born premature, this could be a reason why

she is so thin. Don Isidro sighed, the mother of three

children and she hasn t filled out …she still have the

body of a twelve-year old. Well, after all, she was born

premature, weighing only two pounds at birth. (pg. 90) Her

thin like appearance can give people the impression that she

is weak physically and weak mentally. This could have been

the cause of why she was quiet and reserved.

Appearances and personalities play a huge role of how

the man and the woman will respond and how they will be

treated. Some people are so blind that they will never see

who the person really is inside and how he/she is truly

feeling or what he/she may be thinking. Society usually has

a part in deciding how the male and the female will be and

the roles that they take up in their relationship together.

In this case, it seems as if Castro and Zoraida were given

certain roles to play in the story. It has to do with their

environment when they were growing up and how they were

raised. The way they were treated was the result of how they

turned out to be when they got older. Castro being the

macho and confident male figure while Zoraida being the

quiet and the coy female figure, there was no balance with

their personalities. One would always be stronger than the

other. Zoraida accepted her life for what it was and as the

female role that she played, she would have to be obedient

to her husband while he tried to take control of himself and

his wife.

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