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Posted on September 20th, 2012, by

The impact of the family on the life of an individual can hardly be underestimated. At the same time, often traditional views on the family and its impact on an individual are extremely biased. At any rate, the relationship within a family and its impact on an individual are often too complicated to estimate definitely that the family can shape an individual’s identity. In this respect, “Dreaming in Cuban”¯ by Cristina Garcia is particularly noteworthy because the author reveals the controversy of relationships between an individual and the family since, on the one hand, members of the family are totally different to the extent that it is hardly possible to believe they are brought up in one and the same family, while, on the other hand, main characters of the novel still want to preserve deep family roots, proving the enormous significance and impact of family on their identity.

On analyzing “Dreaming in Cuban”¯, it is important to underline that the main characters often encounters a lot of problems in their family life. For instance, Celia falls in love with a married Spaniard Gustavo, but eventually she has to marry Jorge. In such a way, she creates her family, but it seems as if she is forced to create a family and it has no significant value to her. Obviously, her true love is Gustavo and she can hardly live a normal familial life with Jorge. However, the author puts Celia into a mental institution as if she attempted to change her main character and adapt her to a normal family life. In this respect, it is quite symbolic that after her return from the mental institution, Celia bears two more children. In such a way, the author probably attempts to show a great significance of the family in the life of an individual.

Nevertheless, it does not necessarily mean that Cristina Garcia supports the idea of an overwhelming impact of the family on an individual.

In fact, she reveals quite paradoxical facts which are about to debunk the myth about an overwhelming power and impact of the family on an individual’s identity. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the main characters of the novel Jorge and Celia, who are absolutely different but, still they have three children and they have a family which persists in spite of a consistent difference between them. The main difference between them, excluding Celia’s love to Gustavo in her youth, was the difference in their political views. Jorge is a supporter of an American-friendly government, while Celia supports the revolutionist movement. In such a way, from a political point of view, they are ideological opponents who cannot live together and create a family, but, in spite of their political views, they have three children and live together.

In fact, this paradox can be partially explained by the specificity of the political situation in Cuba, because the country is under the control of the communist regime and, willingly or unwillingly, the author could hardly ignore the problem of political struggle in Cuba. At this point, it is possible to presuppose that the author just wanted to show the extent to which the Revolution and political conflicts in Cuba interfered in the life of ordinary Cubans, but the Revolution and political differences have failed to destroy the family of Celia and Jorge.

At the same time, the author shows that three children of Celia and Jorge take absolutely different paths in their life, which seems to be impossible in the situation when the family produces a significant impact on an individual. However, it is necessary to remember about the existing controversy in views of Celia and Jorge which probably determined the different paths their children have chosen. Consequently, the impact of the family does matter since it would be strange if children supported either a father or a mother only. Instead, some children preferred left ideas while other democratic ideas.

Eventually, at the end of the novel, the author finally reveals the fact that the family is very important and its roots are extremely valuable to individuals. In fact, when Pilar finds Ivanito but tells nothing to Celia, she actually maintains old traditions of her family since Ivanito actually rebels against Celia who wants him to stay, while Pilar, probably unconsciously, supports the rebel of Ivanito and let him go. At this point, it is possible to remind the eager support of Revolutionists by Celia herself, when she was younger. In such a way, the author builds up a close link between generation, which they are probably unconscious of, but still it exists. The existence of this almost invisible link between generations proves the importance of family and its impact on the life of an individual since preservation of roots and traditions of the family prove to be very significant for the main character of the novel. Consequently, on revealing a very complex relationship within the family, the author manages to show its inevitable influence on the life of an individual.

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