The cyclical nature of time and the supernatural are recurring themes in Cristina García's 'Dreaming in Cuban'. Throughout the book, the members of the del Pino family find themselves reliving the same events and situations. This is characterized by the repetition of mental illness, attempted suicide, personal exile, and lovesickness that occurs over three generations. Celia, realizes that time will continue to repeat itself unless the family history is documented and carried on. She takes the responsibility of writing letters to her lover, in order to record their story, but understands more must be done, 'memory cannot be confined' (47). When Pilar is born she is endowed with specific gifts that will enable her to carry on the del Pino family history and end the vicious cycle that consumes the family. Through supernatural forces that manifest themselves as extraordinary memory, telepathy and dreams that serve as premonitions, Pilar is lead to return to Cuba where she fulfills her predetermined destiny; learning the del Pino family history and ending the cycle of lost memory that consumes them.
Early on, as a child growing up in Cuba, Pilar has a very firm connection with the supernatural; she is able to will things to happen using her thoughts. She imagines her nannies? hair falling out strand by strand. We discover that in fact, many of her nannies fled her home with bald patches, claiming she was possessed. Pilar also has the extraordinary ability to recall events that occurred during two years she spent on the island and during her youth in New York City. ?I was only two years old when I left Cuba but I remember everything that?s happened to me since I was a b...
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...suicide. When Pilar finally learns the del Pino family history, she frees Celia from the burden of her memories. ?As I listen, I feel my grandmother?s life passing to me through her hands? (222). This act, allows Celia to ?give herself to passion? (231). The act of suicide releases her from the pain and solitude of her memories which have plagued her since her youth. In her final moments, before her death, releasing the pearl earrings to the sea, allow her the closure that she has desperately yearned for. She is only able to accomplish this through Pilar?s gifts, extrodinary memory, premonitions and telepathy have allowed her to avoid the circular cycle of time that has destroyed the del Pinos before her. With this knowledge she too can break free from her family?s mistakes.
Garcia, Cristina. Dreaming in Cuban. New York: Ballantine, 1992.
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