Contemporary Latin American Fiction

Asynchronous Blog Post on Clap When You Land (Pages 219-320)

ASYNCHRONOUS BLOG POST Deadline: 10/18 before the class.

Instructions:

In the comment section down below answer ONE of the following prompts (2oo-word minimum).

OPTION ONE

Analyze the social media intrigue between Camino and Yahaira. How does the internet foreground their encounter but also the tensions between them?

OPTION TWO

Discuss how chess and the ocean become rhetorical concepts to analyze Yahaira and Camino’s state of mind respectively and to reflect on their relationship with Yano (Papi).

OPTION THREE

Reflect on the topics down below and elaborate on how the author, Elizabeth Acevedo, approach (ONE of) them in this third section of the novel:

.The marginalization of Haitians in the Dominican Republic

.Mother-daughter relationships

.Troubled sisterhood

.Physical and abstract remains (re: Papi)

.The return to the airport

OPTION FOUR

Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses. Do you agree with their arguments and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about these pages (219-320) from Clap When You Land do you want to bring into the discussion?

22 thoughts on “Asynchronous Blog Post on Clap When You Land (Pages 219-320)”

  1. The marginalization of Haitians is a pressing matter in”Clap When You Land”. Although it is not brought up and seen as many times as other themes, the marginalization of Haitians is brought up subtly through the character of Carline. Carline is Carmino’s best friend and has recently given birth to her child. However, her being of Haitian has created a lot issues for her and her family, one of them being her new born. Due to her being a a Haitian immigrant , she is already at a disadvantage from being a native thus making spanish a new language she needs to learn” these are Kreyol-speaking folk”(p264). Having a language barrier creates both social and economic issues for her and her family as they are limited to the opportunities offered in the Dominican Republic. Carline , for example, is limited to a cleaning job at a hotel. Another issue is that because of this lack of opportunity, they are unable to have a financially stable life. They are constantly working just to make ends meet so forget about delivering they’re kid at a hospital”(…)this baby would still be in the intensive care unit(…) cannot afford either the bill”.(p264). They are also seems to be discrimination towards Haitians in the Dominican Republic” It is not an easy thing to do, for a Haitian parent to bring their child to a Dominican hospital to give birth”(p165). This forces them to consult Tia, a local healer, to deliver her baby and thus are able to dodge” the legalities that would come with hospitals”.(p264). This marganilization also may lead to death of Carline’s son” Although Carline will not utter the words, I know she still expects the baby to die, he is just so, so small”(p264). As Haitian immigrants , they are presented dangers and insecurities that poor dominicans themselves may not suffer from. Being Haitian ,in the Domincan Republic, seems to be oppressive and an uphill battle. Although Dominicans around Caroline are just as poor if not poorer, she is singled out and chastised for being Haitian. In a country with rampant economic disparities, those of the same social class are just as divided.

    1. Marginalization of the Haitian community is an important yet subtle theme in Acevedo’s “Clap When You Land.” The theme is explored through the character of Carline, who has a language barrier when living in the Dominican Republic (Acevedo). She becomes marginalized because of where she is from. This, in turn, limits her opportunities, and her financial instability coupled with discrimination make it very challenging for her to raise her child in the Dominican Republic.

  2. Clap When You Land is about two sisters, Camino and Yahaira Rios, who live on separate continents and are completely oblivious of one other’s existence. The lives of the two sisters are turned upside down after their father crashes on a plane, and they are forced to go on a road that will ultimately bring them to each other. Camino’s aunt tells her that her dad also had another daughter who may prevent her from pursuing the airline money in court. Camino seizes on the thought that she has a sister amid the whirlwind of emotions that these disclosures generate. She quickly contacts Yahaira via social media. When Yahaira gets Camino’s friend request, she is taken aback by Camino’s profile photo, which depicts her father standing with a little girl who shares her dad’s appearances. When Yahaira learns she has a sister, her mother is compelled to confess the truth she attempted to keep hidden from her daughter (Acevedo, pp. 290). Yahaira approaches Camino and suggests they video chat. Camino and Yahaira meet on the internet and immediately start plotting together to achieve their objectives. Therefore, it’s clear that Camino and Yahaira utilized social media to get to know each other better, making them feel closer to each other despite having known each other recently. Moreover, social media offered Yahaira a path toward attending her father’s funeral. On the other side, social media brought tension between the two sisters since, at first, it made their face-to-face communication a bit difficult. This is evident since when Yahaira arrived in her father’s homeland, both of them were slow to let their guard down. Later, they explore an intrinsic sisterly bond since they know each other and realize they share the same hopes, fears, and grief. Therefore, social media intrigue helped the two sisters to know each other and develop a strong family bond.

  3. The correspondence between Yahaira and Camino on social media effectively builds tension in the story. At first, Camino is hesitant to even reach out to her half-sister, but ultimately does. The sequence, wherein Yahaira first learns of Camino’s existence, is wonderfully tense. Yahaira debates even responding for awhile which furthers the tension in the story. Eventually Yahaira does respond. The first time they video-chat is equally thrilling for the readers. When Tia tells Camino that her tablet “has been chirping” the readers know it must be Yahaira finally responding to Camino’s messages. Later that evening, they video-chat, and the scene is told from Camino’s perspective as she stares at her tablet, in disbelief, at how discernibly related the two sisters are. The prose in this scene was particularly beautiful:

    “Neither of us says a word. On the screen, beyond where she can see my hand, I trace her chin with my finger. And for the first time I don’t just feel loss. I don’t feel a big gaping hole at everything my father’s absence has consumed. Look at what it’s spit out and offered. Look at who it’s given me.” (page 276)

    It’s a lovely scene and a bit of a turning point in the story. Throughout the beginning of the book, Camino resented Yahaira’s existence – understandably so. Not only was her father an unfaithful husband, he led a double-life with disturbing ease. Moreover, there are so many layers to the situation: Yahaira grew up in New York City and lived with her father for the majority of the year while Camino lived in D.R. and dreamed of visiting her dad in the United States. Camino would receive Yahaira’s hand-me-downs as presents, when her father would come to D.R. for the summers. Her resentment and jealousy from her father’s transgressions ran so deep that it was unclear if the girls could ever form a bond and revel in their sisterhood. But this scene, where they stare at each other through a screen, it is clear that the sisters are going to connect whether they want to or not.

    1. I completely agree your description of the tenseness in those few poems. The entire story up to this point has basically been leading up to this one singular moment. All the foreshadowing and the implied resentment clashed in this one single event told in poetry, at least as you said we as the readers were expecting some sort of conflict or resentment. This moment, removed the context of the actual plot, was the hyped up plot in the narrative where the two stories of these two sisters finally merge into one. Which had been moving parallel so far, existing in the same timeline but never actually touching or influencing one another. But now the two individual stories have finally become one as the plot takes us straight to the finale. It’s a nice surprise that the two sister were able to connect so quickly. Though maybe not that surprising considering that while their situations are very different, the two are similar is many ways. Both have a strong personality in the face of the troubles they are handling. And both have a strong love for their families that creates a strong bond between them. Overall I think this was an excellent pay off to this great moment in the story.

    2. I completely agree to Jazzs’ post. All of the foreshadowing and events all together bring a whole lot of tension to the story of these two unknown sisters. Social media definitely has a huge impact on the tension going on in the story. Like Jazz stated I was one of those who was waiting on some type of resentment or grudge held against the two sisters because of their different living styles. Most of the tension does occur moments before both sisters connect. This is because as they connect they have an instant deeper emotional connection. They’re both so enthused and happy they actually have each other. It all happens so quickly that they feel like they’ve known each other forever and not only that, they feel they’re that one thing that they were missing. Despite everything it wasn’t surprising that they had a good connection because they were similar in a whole lot of ways, from their personality to sharing the samw father. Their morals are also something that helps them a whole lot and is also a big part of the tension. The fact they they’re so similar and haven’t met yet until they video chat. Social media allowed them to see the good in their fathers absence at some point. The tension made up the entire story.

    3. “Neither of us says a word. On the screen, beyond where she can see my hand, I trace her chin with my finger. And for the first time, I don’t just feel the loss. I don’t feel a big gaping hole at everything my father’s absence has consumed. Look at what it spits out and offered. Look at who it’s given me.” (page 276)

      When I read Clap when you land, finding out both sisters were related through their dad and didn’t know each other’s existence was a huge shock to me because it must be hard living a double life especially when you have two different families. As the reader, I didn’t know if they were going to get along because of the grief from the father passing away, and everyone still being upset. I thought it would have ended in chaos or being awkward. I know the initial chat between the two sisters was awkward since everything hit them all at once but I ultimately love the quote because it sheds light on the situation they’re going through. It’s like trying to find the positive in something that is a negative situation like they’re trying to make the best of what’s going on in their lives and adapt to their changes. The quote just represents that even though what they discovered shocked them, instead of just shutting down they’re trying to look at the bright side.

    4. The communication between the two half-sisters, Yahaira and Camino, helps to elevate the theme of family in the story. Though they live in two different countries, they are able to connect with each other on a deeper level. One sister loves her father, while the other loathes him. Yet, their differences are set aside when they communicate with each other to get to know each other better.

  4. Option 3:

    In part 3 of “Clap When You Land” by Elizabeth Acevedo, Yahaira and Camino start interacting with each other for the first time. Both Yahaira and Camino grew up as an only child for 16-17 years of their lives. Now that they’re interacting with each other for the first time through social media, both girls are unsure how to approach one another. They’re both in a state of shock seeing similar genetic features in each other but also because since they’ve lost Papí, each of them are gaining a part back from him by being half-sisters. “How can you lose an entire person, only to gain a part of them back in someone entirely new?” (p. 259-260). I believe the “troubled sisterhood” Yahaira and Camino are going through is simply because they both grew up as an only child and now that they’re grieving Papí, they finally learn that their existence was a secret that neither of them knew until now. This leaves them (and what I think more Camino than Yahaira) in a state of confusion and difficulty to accept a new family member that is a sister who is basically around the same age. Camino even says “I think I hate this sister.” (p. 261) when she sees that Yahaira can easily book a flight to the DR. Camino also demands Yahaira to transfer her some money but also thinks it’s best, or rather “easier” not to get attached to Yahaira. (p. 291) But finally, when Yahaira reaches the airport and Camino is there to pick her up, tears immediately fill Camino’s eyes when they make eye contact for the first time. (p. 319) The “troubled sisterhood” that they’re going through is in my opinion, a growing and learning process of accepting one another as family in a vulnerable time like this.

  5. In “Clap When you Land” from pages 219-320 One of the themes or topics that the author Elizabeth Acevedo not only approaches but utilizes is the topic of troubled sisterhood.As we learned from the previous sections of the book two sisters Camino and Yaharia share the same father but however does not have knowledge of it .The Father of the girls died in a plane crash and through his death came some truth to light about his family and who is actually apart of it.When the two sisters first encounter through text yaharia askes Camino multiple questions about there father and about her however Camino gets too overwhelmed and doesn’t respond.Since they didn’t know each other there constantly asking question to themselves about why there father keep so much secrets.The two girls dont form a easy relationship with each other due to both themselves being a secret of their father.Yahaira got into contact with Camino due to social media and finding her profile which also shows the importance of social media as a whole in society and how helpful or harmful it can be depending on how it is used.

  6. I believe the internet and social media are very important to the developing relationship between Yahaira and Camino. The facebook request sent from Camino was a very abrupt way to introduce herself to Yahaira but without it she would have no way of contacting her so it all hinged on that friend request/message. Then for Yahaira there is the choice to embrace this relationship or ignore its existence. The tension between the two is described with Camino’s statement of not being made for patience as she awaits a response, and Yahaira’s contemplation of how even to respond. Eventually, because of pictures the two sisters have posted they gravitate towards their resemblance more than anything and have to speak. Their video chat experiences are reserved as they attempt to feel each other out, but they see so much of their father in each other that they continue to have chats. Camino’s use of the video chat to extort ten thousand dollars from Yahaira (even though the money is owed to her as well) makes her sick but at the same time is something she felt had to be done. The virtual connection between to two paves the way for Yahaira’s grand scheme of coming to the Dominican Republic with her father’s remains and making Camino her accomplice. Their use of social media is necessary for them to develop a relationship but it also allows for Camino to take on this persona that we as the audience would have never expected from such a kind soul. There is zero chance she would have pressed Yahaira in the way she did for that money if she didn’t have the cover of abruptly hanging up on her sister after she said what she said.

  7. Social media is what allows Camino and Yahira to connect in the first place. This was surprising because it was not really mentioned before this, not even WhatsApp. Finding the right Yahira Rios would definitely be difficult, but it was a lot like Yahira’s character to just have a black square with the day of her father’s death on it because she does not seem like a social media person. The suspense for either of them to respond to each other was one of the best parts of this section. It really encourages empathy because they are both in such a difficult situation. Both girls were lied to their whole lives, and can almost blame the other for their father’s death. Social media is also what gives Yahira closure in a sense of her father’s double life. Without it, and the admission from their mother figures, they would never find out that they’re siblings. They really seem to have found what is left of their father in each other.

  8. The third part of the novel builds on Papi’s presence physically and symbolically, especially regarding who decides where he will be buried and other questions like who receives money. His physical body is finally mentioned in present time in the book when Yahaira’s mother goes to identify his body after the airline has found the plane with human remains. She thanks God for “his gold tooth” and calls for a closed casket burial for the sake of Papi’s daughters — both for Yahaira and Camino. This presence of his physical remains push the symbolic and abstract ways we have known him so far to a new level that adds on the tension building so far in between the characters. Yahaira decides to defy her mother so she can fly with Papi’s remains to the island she was banned from. Camino leverages that tension for her situation, while also bringing more tension into who gets what of the settlement from the airline. The money, a large enough sum to change either one of their lives, is what all remains of Papi beyond his body. Introducing this new form of Papi’s presence also stirs more tensions between those also dealing with other abstract ways Papi still remains in their lives. Everyone is still mourning, yet this new introduction of Papi into the story as a life changing sum of money and divisive funeral plan pauses that mourning process to expose more about the characters we’ve learned about so far. They now all make crucial decisions while still being as impacted as they before.

  9. In the reading, social media can be seen as a gate of sorts between the sisters. For example, while social media is what allows Camino to contact Yahaira and make her existence known to her half-sister, it also serves as a barrier between them at various points. When Camino first messages Yahaira, she is full of hope about this new person who might possibly come into her life. She checks her messages incessantly at first but as Yahaira takes days to respond, the barrier between them (social media) allows Camino’s mind to wander and to begin thinking about Yahaira in a negative way. Social media also serves as a barrier by not allowing the sisters to interact with each other face-to-face; instead they must interpret each other’s words at face value. This leads each one to perceive the other’s words and actions in a convoluted way, which results in a brewing tension between the two. So while social media is a metaphorical gate over which Camino knows Yahaira is (and vice-versa,) in the end it impedes the two sisters from being able to make a good first impression on the other because of the lack of direct communication normally afforded to siblings.

  10. Social media affects the way Camino and Yahaira interact with each other before actually meeting in person. Camino and Yaharia both start their conversations with being scared in a way to respond to the other when they find out they actually exist. Camino thinks of Yaharia as some rich millionaire who is denying Camino her own tuition and doesn’t care at all about her and only cares about being rich. She in ways stated how she thinks she hates her sister and wants to find reasons not even speak to her. However Yaharia first finds out about Camino’s existence through these Facebook messages and is also started off as scared to respond because this is all news to her. She was doing whatever she can to see her sister even trying to buy a ticket and send money behind her own mothers back but Caminio finds ways to hate on her. But there have been moments where Camino did realize how important Yaharia actually is and even says she is the closest thing besides her Tia to her own family. Both these girls end up realizing how their father tried to live 2 different lives and they find out who he really s after they died and interact knowing there is an entire other person that has their blood on the opposite side of the world.

  11. The internet helped connect Yahira and Camino and to be able to come together in dealing with their fathers lost. There is a constant tension between sisters with both of them not really knowing one another, and what part of the truth they are aware of. For example, Yahira only knew about the second wife of her father, but not about her sister which was a shock for her when she read that message from Camino. To continue, the distance has made it difficult for both of them to get to see who they really are, because they have created a judgement and an idea of one another. When they finally video chat they both are able to see and get familiar with who they both really are. It’s important to point out that this has opened many doors for each of them and have release the tension that finding out of each other has built. I wonder what is going to happen next and how we get to see them become sisters or if they just go their separate ways.

  12. In “Clap When You Land” by Elizabeth Acevedo the topic of Mother-Daughter relationships, when looked at through the lends of both Yahaira and Camino, are actually very similar even though the two girls live two very different lives. Both girls are huge “daddy’s girls” and their relationship with their mothers, or in Camino’s case mother-like figure, is one of seriousness and respect. With the passing of their father, both girls come to appreciate the relationships that they have with their mothers. In Yahaira’s case, she’s always seen herself as a clone of her father and even though she’s always loved and respected her mother she never thought they were similar people, so when she asks her mother if she wished Yahaira looked more like her, it opens her eyes to just how much of her mother is engraved in her. With Camino, losing her mother at such a young age and having her father for only 3 months out of the year she was very reliant on her aunt, who she looks up to and views with so much respect. Even though Camino always knew how much of an impact her aunt has on her life, it wasn’t until the loss of her father did she see how much her aunt truly gives to her.

  13. Social media as many know does not always carry the tone that a person might be trying to display. Words that may try to be funny maybe come out or be seen as angry. Sometimes questions can seem like accusations. This problem is quite evident with the start of Yahaira and Camino’s conversations on social media. These two sisters already have their preconceptions about each other especially Camino who sees Yahaira as some ignorant rich New York girl. They don’t know each other well and both have some underlying hurt or hate because of the other being their father’s secret child. These preconceptions carry over to how they read each other’s messages. They also start to have new preconceptions, that may or may not be true, based on the messages sent. These preconceptions carry over to how they read each other’s messages. This is shown when Camino messages Yahaira her first message which is really short. In her head, Yahaira already pictures Camino as emotionless because of this. This also happens when Yahaira tells Camino that she bought a plane ticket to come to the Dominican Republic. It is not seen as a risky act all to meet her long-lost sister. Instead, Camino focuses on how easy it was for Yahaira to obtain the tickets furthering Camino’s preconception of Yahaira. These interactions spill in their first face-to-face meeting and make it harder for the sisters to connect.

  14. The mother daughter relationship portrayed in the third section of the story is the differences that are pointed out in the daughter as she seems to think her and her mom are complete opposites. Yahaira, talks about features as opposites. Here she addresses her mom as a “showpiece” women compared to her they wear opposite clothing but still cute. Her mother is a well put together women but recently with all the emotions she hasn’t been feeling herself. Although Yahaira tells her mom if she wishes she looked like more her, her mother reacts telling her she would never replace her. She reminded Yahaira that she is her fathers twin and everyone loved that about her. Mini version of him that will keep his legacy living. The mother daughter bond will only get and continue to grow because they are now all they got. Even if it is hard to communicate with her at times there are days that everything goes good.

  15. OPTION THREE Reflect on the topics down below and elaborate on how the author, Elizabeth Acevedo, approach (ONE of) them in this third section of the novel: – The return to the airport

    Elizabeth Acevedo describes Camino’s return to the airport to retrieve her sister as an emotional moment that captures both Camino’s grief at losing her father and her anxiety around meeting her new sister – someone whom she loves and hates and is jealous of. Camino is hyper conscious of her surroundings – describing the ride to the airport, what she felt walking through the doors, aware of her class differences in contrast to her sister’s life in the United States, and saddened by the deception of her father. The narration of Camino’s perceptions of herself and her experiences are expressed through her descriptions of the cold structures, the changed energy of the people waiting for loved ones, her own flash of fear when the flight disappears off the screen. This build up to the airport is felt in the sharp changes in Camino’s attention and her confused yet strong emotions at seeing her sister for the first time.

  16. When Camino’s father died, she was waiting at the airport for him when the news broke. Now that Yahaira is on the same plane route her dad used to take, Camino has to return to the airport since the crash and is forced to face the trauma her las visit had caused her. In the story before Camino gets to the airport we see she is nervous to go back. In the car with Don Mateo, she is reminded about the day her father died when she was on her way to the airport and just how similar the feeling is going back. She says “last time [they] did this it seems the world ended.” (p 315) Camnio’s anxieties don’t just end on the way there but going into the airport as well. It’s almost like she walks into a time capsule. Everything is the same except for the emotions of the people around her. The last time she was there, she was surrounded by grief as families find out the news. Now that she’s back, the only grief that’s left is the grief she carries with her. Her father’s death and the way it happened leaves Camino nervous for her sister. The last time she waited for someone to arrive in DR they never arrived. And as she waits for Yahaira, she can’t help but acknowledge the possibility that that could happen again. She says “I am sick with worry about a girl I don’t know” (p 314). This worry was made clear when Camino began to panic because the flight information disappeared. However, the flight landed safely and Yahaira arrived. I think Yahaira’s plane landing safely was almost like closure for Camino. It’s hard for her seeing life go on as she says “everything seems so normal, so unlike six weeks ago. They’ve all moved on. Or were never moved in the first place” (p 319) And although her father is still gone and she’s still grieving, she was able to see that all the pain in that airport on the day isn’t there anymore and try moving forward and focus on healing.

  17. Camino and Yahaira Rios are two sisters that don’t know each other’s existence and are oblivious of each other. When their father died, both characters react and found each other through social media. There were so many questions and answers one was trying to get. Yahaira got into contact with Camino through social media and being able to find her profile led to how important the next step to knowing what they both had to know about their lives and each other. “Neither of us says a word. On the screen, beyond where she can see my hand, I trace her chin with my finger. And for the first time, I don’t just feel the loss. I don’t feel a big gaping hole at everything my father’s absence has consumed. Look at what it spits out and offered. Look at who it’s given me.” (page 276)
    This quote from the story is important because both sisters feel like they have something more to live for. Meeting each other gave and let each other vision their future on what was next. Being able to find someone’s existence especially related to you is special and is something worth living for.

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