How did the genre of Magical Realism shape the story, particularly since it draws on a tradition of Latinx story-telling? How do the cultural aspects of Miel and Sam’s lives affect the story? How does the story address cultural differences in a homogenous community? How does the book allow us to think through identity and adolescence? then complete the peer review, this should take author page peer’s reflection: I think the novel “When the Moon Was Ours” really utilizes magical realism to bring characters closer together and pull characters apart in order to point out the real issues that are uniquely tied to gender and culture. As far as pulling characters apart, we can certainly see this in the dichotomy between the Bonner sisters and the way they treat Miel. It is clear that the Bonner sisters are white and Miel is Latina. This is so important because while it seems as though the sisters are welcoming towards Miel at the beginning, they quickly change course of behavior upon finding out that Miel had magical powers just like them. Even though Miel’s powers of growing flowers growing out of her wrists does not, in any way, threaten their powers of manipulation and romantic sway, they still feel threatened by Miel. For me, reading this was akin to the anger and discrimination that many white people practice today towards immigrant Americans or even Americans who have never left the states but have a family history of immigration. I saw so many parallels between the ways that the white sisters liked Miel until she had something that they thought only they should have rights too– even if it didn’t interfere with their own rights. I think this is, in many ways, similar to the ways in which a lot of white Americans claim that “immigrants are taking our jobs!” without understanding that, among many other reasons why this statement is wrong, immigrants should have a right to the same employment opportunities, immigrants having a job does not take away from one’s own job and no one life is more important than another. I think the mentality of the Bonner sisters is so relatable to many people in ways they are ashamed to admit. With that said, I think, as the two articles we read also point out, magical realism does a great job of pulling people together. In hearing the cultural practice of bacha pose, the reader can tell that Sam is feeling more and more comfortable with his gender fluid identity. His relationship with Aracely gives him a lens to look forward into his own identity and question it the same way that Aracely does, according to Stamper and Miller’s article. In this way, Aracely acts as sort of a buffer between Sam’s reality and the person he can see himself being in the future if he allows himself to be truly himself. While I don’t necessarily think it is clear (I may have overlooked this so please correct me if I did) whether Sam identifies as a woman or identifies as gender fluid, it is clear that he feels some sort of dystopia within his body. While the story of the bacha practice may fall in line with what Putzi is arguing against (the notion that one was born in the wrong body instead of recognization of the complexity and multiple experiences of transgenderism), the ways that we see Sam and Aracely discovering gender separately pays mind to the notion Putzi is arguing: transgenderism is not just “one size fits all” of a story. People experience gender identity in multiple ways.
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