Asynchronous Assignment on The Poet Slave of Cuba (Pages 44-86)

Asynchronous Assignment (due on 4/27 before class)

Instructions:

1. In the comment section down below, answer ONE of these questions (200-words minimum):

OPTION ONE

Discuss all the distinct ways the young Manzano keeps “writing” verses and “reading” poetry even though the Marquesa del Prado Ameno punishes any literacy activity. Refer to specific poems and/or scenes from this section.

OPTION TWO

Explore Manzano’s complex spiritual views and how they help him to cope with the punishments and torture imposed by the Marquesa del Padro Ameno. Refer to specific poems and/or scenes from this section.

OPTION THREE

What does Don Nicolas means when he says that the Marquesa del Prado Ameno has a mind “that needs light.” Describe how Don Nicolas, Manzano’s mother, María del Pilar, and the girls at the kitchen offer him consolation and solace.

OPTION FOUR

Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses. Do you agree with their points and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about The Poet Slave of Cuba (pages 44-86) do you want to bring into the discussion?

21 thoughts on “Asynchronous Assignment on The Poet Slave of Cuba (Pages 44-86)”

  1. Juans complex spiritual views helped him and his mom cope with the punichsments and torture imposed by Marquesa. Juan stated, “In the darkness my mother answers my songs with her songs”. Juan feels a familial connection to his mother through his literacy and creativity. This connection helps him aspire a future of freedom. He shares, “the mouth of my mother, a Psalm about the music of life and one about escaping like a bird from a hunter’s trap”. He strives for the ability to leave his plantation and reunite with his family. His spiritual connection allows him to find strength from within to persevere through his enslavement.

    Maria, Juan’s mom states, “He keeps me alive with his whisperings about poets born long ago and poets forced to flee for their lives and poets catching words in flight like wild birds”. Maria emphasizes how her son makes an impact on her. She enjoys his presence because of his intelligence and ability to move people with his spiritual energy. His energy is rare for an enslaved person. He was born into the injustice system of slavery which can really cloud someones personal outlook for life, and also someones motivation. However, Juan gains strength through his poetry and although it is forbidden to have his intelligence, his mind is free and he can aspire to a future. Juan spreads this inspiration to those around him which is why his mother, Maria emphasizes his healing powers.

  2. Option 1:
    Juan manages to “write ” and “read poetry even though Ameno does not let him do anything. Juan keeps the reading and writing in secret from Ameno so that she doesn’t see anything. When Juan reads and write poetry, it helps him heal. It helps him imagine and think about his future once he is not in captivity anymore. He has big dreams and is constantly thinking. “Again I draw with my stub of crayon hiding the act of sketching my secret”. In the house, Juan sees a lot of portraits and landscapes like flowers and some palm trees with birds. It brings a sense of calmness in him. Meanwhile, Juan draws weapons, bones and buried men. “The old Africans say those are the things buried inside these walls.” I think that the bones represent the way he is feeling. “These are the stories I tell in my mind” Fevers, scars and wilderness.” Juan tells himself about these three things that no one can hear. He has a tight cloth choking his mouth so it makes it more difficult for Ameno to hear and see his mouth moving.
    On a separate occasion when Juan wasn’t tied up, he took brushes that Don Nicolas had given him and started to draw. He drew a witch. The witch symbolized deep anger. “The witch was doctoring a demon, healing the demon, taking care of the demon.” Without the paint brushes, Juan didn’t have anything. He always depended on his brushes to express himself and think about the large world that we live in.

  3. Option #3

    Don Nicolas the son of the Marquesa del Prado Ameno said that his mother has a mind “that needs light.” I think Don said that because he has empathy for Juan and sees the potential of him being a writer and poet. But his mother wants Juan to be “a tailor like his father or a pastry chef working on sugar and chocolate instead of ink.”
    Everybody sees the potential of Juan, he is talented, he has a gift and can see miracles. But at one point we thought that Juan would be free after Beatriz, his godmother’s death and after his mother paid the price to his freedom but little did, we know that he was going to be transferred to the Marquesa del Prado Ameno.
    Juan is a young man who can memorize fast and create rhyme and make songs. Beatriz freed his whole family except Juan, even the twins who were born after Juan or any other babies after the twins, in his mother’s belly who are not born yet are free except Juan.
    The reason behind why Juan is still a slave can’t be fathom by his parents and the whole village. He went through a lot of hardship and just lost his father.
    At the Marquesa del Prado Ameno, Juan is cruelly punished. The Marquesa del Prado Ameno thought that when Juan would be tied to “a ladder laid out in the ground face down, mouth down” he won’t be able to speak. But Juan was able to sing and make noise which made the Marquesa del Prado Ameno sad and call Juan an evil child. Indeed, he is tied to a ladder with his mother and are being whipped by a man who is dark skin like them. After being released from the tortures, his consolation was to sign out for the girls in the kitchen to make them laugh and tease out. They ask Juan to sing for them so that they could sweet daydreams of peace.
    At the king’s day, all slaves make fun of their pain and they are “allowed to make fun of priests, nuns, judges…” This helps them make pain feel like fun.

    To console Juan, Don Nicholas “would like to give mournful Juan a reason for smiling” so he gave Juan a coin, one peseta. But that coins who’d bring more problems than he already has right now.

  4. OPTION THREE
    When Don Nicolas says the lines on page 61, ” She is the one with a mind that needs light” when he is talking about his own mother, he talking about how she has a mind that is clouded by the racist ideals that were prevalent during these times. On this same page Don Nicolas talks about how before he used to have thoughts as to how if he ate foods that were of darker color, he feared that he too would turn as dark as Manzano and he treated the same that he does by him mother, with being locked up in the cellar and being abused. But he now knows that this is an ignorant thought to have, and that the one with the dark thoughts are his mother. Her dark thoughts, in my opinion, are the thoughts that people of lighter skin color are better and the negative thoughts she has concerning the young Manzano having interests in the arts, instead of the typical slave work. I also think that when Don Nicolas says that ” She is the one with a mind that needs light” he is talking about the negative “light”, which is the thoughts she has about Manzano, that causes her to treat him harshly.

    The poems made by Manzano show that when he is around Don Nicolas, Manzano’s mother, María del Pilar, and the girls at the kitchen, they offer him consolation and solace from the life that he is living. I believe that they all believe in his abilities and they enjoy his art, while others such as Don’s mother. Marquesa del Prado Ameno, will try to break his spirit and demolish his spirit to write. Don offers him solace and consolidation by just being supportive and acting like his brother. He goes against his mothers wishes by being nice to him and also, as Manzano states, “The young master Don Nicolas has given me a bronze pencil case and a stub of crayon”, which shows that he supports his “brother” and wants him to follow his passion. This also shows that Don is someone who might know the importance that literature and the arts have in Manzano’s life, which he further encourages him to go to that place to get away from his mothers violence. Manzano’s mother, just like Don, also is seen to encourage her son and offer him peace from the violence brought to him from the hands of Marquesa del Prado Ameno. While she cant physically give something to her son, she lets him lean on her when he is troubled and she offers him comfort that mothers give. She also risks her life in order to protect her son and this is seen on page 73 when after she sees her son chained up with the overseer with the lines stating “Teeth and fists shrieking and kicking I punch, I attack!”. She proves her loyalty to her son with support and compassion that lets him escape from the realities of slavery that he is left to endure by himself. While the girls at the kitchen haven’t known Manzano for long and they are not seen to have a close relationship, they offer him peace with their presence. Manzano is forced by Marquesa del Prado Ameno to give up his artistic abilities and take on roles that are associated with slave work in her house. He had tasks that included mending clothes, working in the kitchen and others, which would keep him away from picking up a pencil and writing. But while in the kitchen, Juan would be taken away from the reality of his situation because the girls at the kitchen would ask him to read and sing so that it would take them away from the realities of their life. By them asking, they are indirectly helping Juan also escape from his reality and bringing him back to his safe place that no one can take away from him no matter how hard they try.

  5. Option three:

    According to Don Nicolas, his mother “is the one / with a mind / that needs light” (Manzano 61). He means that for his mother Juan is the one with sad and dark thoughts, but in reality, she is the one that needs light in her mind and soul. La Marquesa is a cruel and heartless woman. She punishes Juan without mercy because he likes to read, recite poems, and everything else that involves art. She cannot see Juan happy, it bothers her. She claims his poems are sad and she doesn’t want to be sad. Therefore, she punishes him as badly as she can.
    Don Nicolas, María del Pilar, and the girls at the kitchen offer Juan consolation and solace by silently going against la Marquesa’s rules. Don Nicholas gave him food when he was isolated and also gave him tools to paint and write. Maria del Pilar, Juan’s mother, comforted her weeping son every time she could. She would even sing to him. The girls in the kitchen had a dynamic and cheerful environment of which Juan was part. They wanted him to sing and recite poems. The girls in the kitchen would complement how sweet their dreams would be after listening to his singing.
    Juan surely has people that care about him. His main enemy is la Marquesa. An enemy he gained without doing anything wrong.

    Rosa Tejada

    1. Rosa, I think your quote on Don Nicolas referring to his mother as needing the light is a summary of how he views her. I believe that his mothers punishments on Juan are more of a reflection of her own miseries. She cannot fathom on how someone chooses to try and find happiness and freedom of the mind in a state meant to enslave you not only physically but more so mentally. You spoke about how everyone took compassion over him, in a sense overstepping her unspoken rule of giving the boy credit for his talents. I think its because of everyone viewing him as the boy he actually he. In the story he talks about how the girls call him “Poeta Esclavo” and how he loved how Poet came before slave since thats who he really was. You’re right that everyone cared about him and although La Marquesa was very mean to him, she had her moments where she would want the boy fed and cleaned. It was ironic to me when she chose him to give the coin to the beggar. I also think that much of her hatred comes from the memories and desires the boys words bring to her.

  6. Option one:

    This section of the “Poet Slave” is really sad. The treatment that young Juan is receiving from the Marquesa del Prado Ameno is a reflection of her heart. She is mean and vindictive. She is punishing Juan because he is a survivor. The young Manzano keep “writing” verses and “reading” Poetry in spite of the unbearable treatment because it helps him stay sane and free in his mind. One distinctive way that young Manzano continue to write and read poetry is through his drawing. Verse Juan (p. 47),
    The Young master Don Nicolas has given me
    a bronze pencil case
    and a stub of crayon

    I listen
    I watch
    I learn how to draw
    eyes and ears
    eyebrows
    lips
    teeth
    a woman running
    with loose, flowing hair, weeping and running
    in a world
    made of wind

    Another passage states (p. 48),

    Again I draw with my stub of crayon
    hiding the act of sketching
    my secret
    even Don Nicolas doesn’t know
    what it’s like for me
    to live in this house decorated with pictures
    on wall and doors
    ceilings and furniture
    there are painting everywhere,
    portraits
    landscapes
    murals

    Young Manzano uses all the situations and places he is taken to soak up the surrounding and environment. He changes the perception and uses it to imagine a happier place; a place where vile treatment cannot take his thoughts and secrets away. In the 1st verse Juan (p. 54),

    I sit tied and gagged
    She is there, behind the curtain.
    The tight cloth choking my mouth keeps me safe.
    She can’t hear the stories I tell myself in secret.
    In silence.
    Hidden.

    The treatment, situations and positions that Marquesa del Prado Ameno uses to punish literacy activity from Juan is unreachable because, Juan has the power of free will in his mind that she cannot break. The 5th verse (p. 56) La Marquesa De Prado Ameno says,
    And even when this is done nine days in a row
    still he bleeds and weeps,
    trying to show me
    that he has won
    he has triumphed once again
    he has proven that he can still
    make me sad.
    Evil child.

    1. I agree with m.hogans that Manzano, in his youth, did use his literacy to maintain his sanity and create a mental escape from a bad situation. But paradoxically on p.48, we also witness his personal and ancestral trauma, regarding the torturous history of these types of houses, with his art. Manzano states his interest in physically perceiving the house as the graveyard that it was for innocent souls. He understood that he was not in the position to feel comforted by the facade of “[f]lowers the fronds of ferns and palm trees, harps, ribbons birds in flight pleasure gardens where ladies with parasols stroll beside peaceful lakes.” (Engle 20).

      Interestingly, the prior quote shows the unfairness of the two worlds where those in rigid servitude are constantly bombarded with unrest and these ladies, representing the culprits, have the latitude to comfortably “stroll beside peaceful [emphasis added] lakes.” The subtle diction of the author shows that “peace” is something that is not afforded Manzano because of his situation. However, in his realness, he optimistically assures that “instead of the raging, terrifying storm [he] will choose to measure its silent, peaceful eye.” ibid.

      Manzano shows his precociousness within that quote by understanding the gravity of the situation and realizing the proper maintenance of his sanity. The rumor is that it is calm and peaceful in the eye of the storm. Therefore, the end wall of the hurricane, and outward, represents the foul nature of his situation. Through exercising his literacy, he assures that he will find tranquility and endure the present chaotic times because storms are usually short-lived.

    2. Option 4
      I agree with your post and I love the verses you choose to point out!

      Juan Francisco Manzano spent his early years at the side of his owner’s wife, His poetry was his outlet reflecting not only the cruelty of his world but the beautify as well. Manzano was banned and punished from writing “verses” and “reading” poetry despite the fact that he keeps writing poems because it helps keep his spiritually and identity intact. As you pointed out an important verse on page 48 stated; “I draw with my stub of crayon hiding the act of sketching my secret.” He watched and learned how to draw and made sure he hid it from his owner not only to avoid punishment but because he knew that it would create fear. I also loved how you said that Manzano learned that he can free his mind. In my opinion, in modern times I feel as though minorities still haven’t freed their mind from such things such as the European beauty standard. It is a powerful tool to learn to free the mind and it definitely eventually helped others rebel. Another important verse on page 86 would like to point out is when he stated “we make pain feel Like fun aren’t we clever” although his physical body wasn’t free his mind was.

  7. Juan Manzano’s drive for expressing his thoughts, for learning how to write or read were so strong, that despite the torture he was put through every time he broke the rule, he kept on creating and trying. Everyone in his surrounding saw Juan’s talent. His real mother says; “I can hear him singing. That music of words. That flattering wings.” (44). Don Nicholas: “He never has a chance to hold a pencil, but there is something in his eyes that tells me he already knows how to draw…”. (46). His father Toribio: “…his verses wasted his mind…” (45). Juan was prohibited to be creative, but he could not stop. Whether it was painting a witch, reciting the verses in his head, remembering the verses he heard from someone else, he did not allow that his mind is controlled. Words such as fireflies, music, angels, birds, wings were coming to him in rhymes. Even when he was being punished by overseer, Juan was whispering his verses. This helped him cope with his punishments, with the reality of his situation and allowed him to dream of the brighter future and of other worlds out there

    1. Hi Adriana!
      I agree with you because although Juan was not physically free he let his mind run freely. His love for creative expression could not be tortured and beaten away because he carried it in his mind and in the soul, he did not need paper. La Marquesa told him that he would be freed so he could focus on threading not write but really Juan just hid it. He was born with this talent and need for self-expression and no one can stop this fire he had in him. Truly I was shocked to read that even being lashed and locked up for 9 days would take away his spirit but it did not. He uttered all the poems he could. He knew that this would anger La Marquesa because many of the poems like the one by Fray de Leon “a man enslaved to another man’s will” were making a mockery of her (80). Poetry was really his escape from the cruel world. He could picture angles and birds which can represent freedom because they fly and are free unlike him. Often times when we are not happy with our life we create our own little world for us now a day might look more like a Netflix marathon but his own word his escape his own bubble was poetry and drawing. It also served as a way to rebel because how could an uneducated slave draw and write so well and continue to do so even after his owner said no.

  8. Option 1

    Despite being silenced and forbidden by La Marquesa to participate in lessons or recite versus, a few ways that Manzano continues to quietly partake is by actively and intensely listening, seeing with a focused vision, and he is creative in his own free mind. On page 54, the setting is with young Manzano (or Juan) is in his painful punishment of captivity. Despite his suffering we learn about the “stories he tells himself in secret…in silence…hidden”. He talks to “tables and walls…people and fruit trees” not just to maintain his creative and brilliant skills but to keep his own sanity as well. We also keep hearing the mentioning of wings, this is to help his subconscious temporarily escape his torment.

    Juan also established a relationship with La Marquesa’s son Don Nicolas who secretly gifted Juan with supplies for writing and drawing. This human connection helped vilify La Marquesa for her abusive ways. She was the villain in this story not Juan “the evil boy of sadness” as she would go on calling him. Using the ink and quill gifted to him by Don Nicolas, Juan would remix rhymes he would overhear at “elegant parties”. Influenced by their refined poetics he would make the rhymes his own by “changing the words to new ones” (63). On page 73 we see Juan’s mom Maria punished along side her son for attempting to come to his rescue. Again, Juan uses his words to create stories that will help mentally free them from the dungeon of captivity even if just temporarily. His stories about “fireflies, music, angels, birds, wings, and God” are their only escape. One last way that Juan engaging with his poetry is while working in the kitchen with the girls. They call him “golden beak” and beg him for his verses. He hypnotizes them with his words making all of their days just a little less bleak.

    1. Hello Christine,

      I completely agree with you in the sense that Juan’s stories were there to help him, and subsequently his mother, escape the torments of the torture imposed by the overseer but mandated by La Marquesa de Prado Ameno. I find really interesting how you mention and bring forward the example of the ladies in the kitchen since it really called my attention as i read it, they say to Juan: “… just one more verse to help us dream sweet daydreams of peace!” (83). This shows that Juan stories not only bring comfort and escape for him and his mother in times of punishment but also did the same function for these ladies that were facing their own punishment or slavery by being part of the kitchen staff.

      Thank you for your post!

  9. OPTION THREE:

    In my opinion, when Don Nicolas says that Marquesa del Prado Ameno has a mind “that needs light” he means that she is filled with ignorance, evil, and unhappiness. Hence, she cannot see the gift within Juan. Saying that her mind needs light, also expresses that she does not embody purity or happiness.
    Don Nicolas, Manzano’s mother, Maria del Pilar, and the girls at the kitchen offer Juan consolation and solace through their kind words. Don Nicolas was always empathetic towards Juan, he looked out for him in many ways, like being supportive of him and always trying to make him feel included, this gesture made Juan feel hope for better. Juan said, “the young master Don Nicolas has given me a bronze pencil case and a stub of crayon, I listen, I watch, I learn how to draw (Pg 47).”. Manzano’s mother, Maria del Pilar, always share encouragement with Juan which also gave him hope that it would get better. The girls at the kitchen found the acts of Juan recitation and the talent he had for poems as positive, and they showed him through ways of laughs and giggles that they could find comfort in his words, this made Juan find solace and consolation in the fact that even though Marquesa del Prado Ameno did not appreciate him, his colleagues, mother, and Don Nicolas did.

  10. (FYI: I have a digital version of the book and therefore my page references will differ from the hardcopy.)

    Poetry has always proven difficult for me because I find deciphering metaphors somewhat of a challenge. However, with respect to the pages read thus far, and as it relates to Juan’s ability to create his art, I find that the most distinct way in which Juan does this is that art is innate in him. It is not work – it simply is. It simply exists for him regardless of his environment and circumstance – even when he realizes that the dreadful screaming is his own voice (Pages 94-97) while being banished to the cellar without food, water, light, human contact but with rats and the foul stench of the cellar. Juan creates art within himself – whatever it may be: beauty, hate, love, kindness, anger – Juan first creates it within himself. We see this reflected in La Marquesa de Prado Ameno’s verses of disdain and anger on Pages 111-113, “…Such sad rhymes, I tell him, even though he has not dared to recite them out loud. They flicker all around him, like fireflies in the night stray words arranging their blinking lights into some sort of orderly rhythm.” Boom! Without Juan uttering a word of art or drawing on the tiniest piece of paper, it is evident by those around of what is in him and because of this, there is an aspect of freedom for this slave. He has not been broken; his mind is still his own.

  11. OPTION ONE
    The marquesa del prado does not allow Juan to read or write, but that doesn’t stop Juan from trying. He does so but always being carful on not getting caught. He mentions that “ even though I am not free there are things he loves in this world” which shows me the property Juan still has even though he was separated from his actual mother and claimed by the marquesa. For Juan reading and writing is a form for him to grasp away from his reality of being “free” in this trapped home. In the book she mentions that when she finds him reading under a table or behind a door she “locks him down in the cellar with a charcoal to darken his thoughts and his skin”. This is a very crucial punishment for Juan for just doing any literacy activity. This further shows how she does not allow him to be fully free from this slave world. This is a way for her to show her authority towards Juan and instilling fear within him. But all Juan does is imagine how the world would be like when he is free. When Don Nicolas gifts him a bronze pencil case and a stub of crayons and with that he “ draw with my stub of crayon hiding the act of sketching my secret”. Juan is still able to express himself through the use of drawing and it gives he a sort of peaceful mind to imagine what his life might be.

  12. Option 2 :
    Juan is a high spirited boy and an optimist. It is said that we spend most of our lives in our minds, therefore we should make it a good place to dwell in. His paintings, poetry and readings help him to cope up with the torture. Like we as normal human beings vent in or confide in others; Juan likewise expose his anger via his paintings or any form of creativity. His paintings or creativity is something that Ameno cannot take it away from him, it’s his own personal possession that cannot be taken away by any source of aggression or torture. “I am new, not old ; I am Cuban, not African; I will not measure my years by the passing hurricanes; I do not measure the distance I travel by counting the number of rooster songs I hear as I pass from one arm to the next. Instead of the raging, terrifying storm I will choose to measure its silent, peaceful eye”(pg.49)These lines show that he always looks at the brighter side of the world, he believes that there is light at the end of the tunnel. “He has triumphed once again has proven that he can still make me sad. Evil child “(pg.57). Ameno is tired of torturing him over and over again but Juan is boy of free spirit, untamed and wild, he is like the bird that can never be caged. “These rhymes are mine mine alone never memorised or copied in anyway. Rhymes about soaring in spirit a spark imprisoned bursting its bonds of clay. Rhymes about feeling delight wrapped in loves alive and able to pray” (pg.64). These lines depict Juan’s mentality, like he is saying that as long as I have my rhymes with me I am free, I do not need anything else in the world, my soul and spirit is hidden inside my poetry and I dwell in them. Through my rhymes I escape this world.

  13. Option three:

    Marquesa del Prado Ameno tries to blame Juan’s mind for being so sad and dark when in reality he is trying to make the best out of his unfortunate situation by singing and reciting verses which keep his spirits up. I believe that when Don Nicolas said the Marquesa del Prado Ameno has a mind that “needs light” he means that the Marquesa del prado Ameno should open up her mind and listen closely to the verses sung by Juan, by doing so maybe one day some “light” will reach her mind, which is something she desperately needs. Don Nicolas offers Juan consolation and solace by speaking to him with kind words and showing that he cares about him. Juan’s mother, Maria del Pilar, bravely stands up for Juan when he is being punished against the overseer to the point where she ends up shackled alongside with him. She also pays close attention to the stories Juan tells her about old Spanish poets and their poems. The girls from the kitchen find joy in the verses and songs recited by Juan, they beg him to repeat some of his songs to them so they can daydream about the love tales being told by Juan.

  14. Hi Shamma,

    I totally agree with your interpretation of Juan. His save space was his momentum. He did not wallow over his suffering although the constant trauma perpetrated by the Marquesa. His abilities and talents were what kept him sane and his imagination alive (he used that imagination to survive the horrors of slave life). By plastering words and paint, Juan created a channel to exhaust frustration and pain. Most of times is when we are able to channel our anger and fear to make something beautiful is the best answer to those caused all that pain. The Marquesa hated Juan’s ability to create and recite beautiful literature even after loads of pain and suffering. His greatest ability was optimism and the MARQUESA sought to destroy his essence.

  15. The “Poet Slave” highlights the treatment that young Juan is receiving from the Marquesa del Prado. She is punishing Juan because he is a survivor. The Marquesa del Prado does not allow Juan to read or write, but that doesn’t stop Juan from trying. Despite being told to not read nor write he is always doing it but always being careful not to get caught. Manzano keeps “writing” verses and “reading” Poetry despite the unbearable treatment because it helps him stay sane. One distinctive way that young Manzano continues to write and read poetry is through his drawing. Verse Juan (p. 47).
    In the book, when she finds him reading under a table or behind a door she “locks him down in the cellar with a charcoal to darken his thoughts and his skin”. This is a way for her to show her authority and domination towards Juan and instilling fear within him. But all Juan does is imagine how the world would be like when he is free.

  16. Option Three:

    “Now I Know
    That when she tells him to stand behind her chair
    while she eats or plays cards
    when she tells him to spread his elbows to shelter her ears from being bumped by clumsy serving girls
    somehow she imagines that his dark thoughts have seeped into her thoughts
    when really
    it is exactly
    the opposite.
    she is the one
    with a mind
    that needs light. ”
    (Don Nicolas, pg. 61)

    Don Nicolas is saying that La Marquesa is wicked for what she does to Juan. Her mind is dark, hateful, and envious, while Juan’s is full of wonder, colors, and love.
    Don Nicolas is kind to Juan and loves him like a brother. He offers him kind gestures and items like crayons or things Juan could use to learn from. Don Nicolas even thinks about sneaking Juan away so he could be free to study by Nicolas’ side. Juan’s mother Maria suffers whenever she sees her son suffer. She defends him whenever she can and ends up being punished alongside him. Being with his mother offers Juan consolation, and he even consols his mother through the use of poetry. The kitchen girls who often whisper, contribute to Juan’s curiosity and creative mind. Although they laugh at him and tease him, the things they mention peaks his interest whether he believes them or not.

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