City of God Pages 53-99

 The Author Gil Cuadros:

  • Born in Los Angeles, California on July 22, 1962
  • Died on October 04, 1996 at the age of 34
  • One of the first recipients of the PEN Center USA/West grant to writers with HIV
  • Awarded the 1991 Brody Literature Fellowship

City of God

  • Compilation of short stories and poems
  • Examines ethnicity, sexuality, illness, love and the negative attitudes towards AIDS in the 1990s
  • We believe that many of the stories and poems are autobiographical

My Aztlan: White Place Pages 53-58

  • “She doesn’t want to think about the white man who infected me. ‘He might as well have shot you,’ she said once.” (pg 54)
  • “Mom, why did you burn my hands with the iron and say it was an accident? tattoo my arms with the car’s cigarette lighter? make me wish your wish, that I was never born? make me admit they are all lies?” (pg 55)
  • “Like a disease-ridden blanket, revenge was on my parents, to be gay and not speak Spanish.” (pg 56)
  • “I became white, too, uncolored by age in his over-40 crowd.” (pg 56)
  • “ They said stuff like, ‘hot Latin, brown-skinned, warm, exotic, dark, dark, dark,’ buried under their bodies’ weight dirt and asphalt, moist skin, muscle and blood.” (pg 58)

Narrators father would hug and kiss his head. His father would hold him tickle him and hold him tight until the both of them would fall asleep. The narrator explains that this was a rarity because his father worked two jobs. 

Unprotected Pages 59-70

  • “They wanted to know when I was going to be sorry for the things that I did to get this way.” (pg 60)
  • When the narrator came out, his mother asked, “Aren’t you afraid?” [referring to AIDS] (pg 60)
  • “I tested soon after his death.” (pg 60)
  • “I didn’t think I was attractive enough, especially now with the virus.” (pg 62)
  • “I went on, ‘I’m positive.’ I felt like a child confessing his sins, kneeling in a dark room.” (pg 65)
  • “I couldn’t help but feel cheated, I had done none of these things. I didn’t deserve this disease.” (pg 65)
  • “Like I’m infectious material.” (pg 66)
  • “I promised my parents I’d wear the cross all the time. They didn’t know I wore it with John’s ring. To them it would seem immoral; John got me sick.” (pg 64)

There is victim-blaming in the “deserve” question. Does the narrator believing that promiscuity should be punished?

The narrator only had sex with his partner that he loved and he got sick.

Do the narrator’s parents believe AIDS is a punishment for their son?

Holy Pages 71-75

  • The neighbors harass the narrator with religion
  • As weeks continue, shrines become more elaborate
  • Created a throne for the narrator
  • “ In my right palm, I could feel a small flame ignite and in my left, the beginning framework of a new home, the skeleton of a new being.” (pg 75)

What is with the harassment?

Why is the neighbor creating such a fuss over the narrator? Is she just plain crazy?

Why doesn’t the landlord do anything to stop the harassment? 

Baptism Pages 77-89

  • “I hate this kind of attention, the fussing over my complexion, the texture of my hair. Still, I let Denise treat me like a doll.” (pg 79)
  • “I tell them I want to cut my hair short. Both dad and Denise look horrified.” (pg 80)
  • “When I unwrap my towel from my head, my father smiles, still a little drunk. He comes forward to kiss my cheek and whispers, ‘You look like my little boy, you look like a son.’” (pg 89)

What is going on between Denise and her father?

Was Angela’s father truly happy about having his daughter look like a boy?

Has Angela suffered from identity issues?

Letting Go Pages 91-94

  • “My new lover, Rudy, is at my elbow, trying to pull me away with his usual arguments.” pg 92)
  • “There are moments when I want to get rid of this rope…” (pg 92)
  • “My father turns his back on us, the muscles in his back are knotted. All he says is, ‘Faggot’”. (pg 93)

Is this story a metaphor?

Are there religious symbols?

What is the importance of letting go?

Is Rudy going to be a good thing for the narrator?

Sight Pages 95-99

  • “…everyone in her office has a glow around their bodies, some with colors more distinct, others thin and wavering.” (pg 96)
  • “An elderly woman holds the elevator for me, her arm braced against the elevator for me, her arm braced against the closing door. A warm tingle runs down my throat, informs me that she is not well, some perceived similarity with myself… Her hair is white, I know, but I see tumors instead, the stench of black rotted fruit, dappling her brain.” (pg 97)

Is there an underlying reason why the narrator decides to not take the medication?

Does he have a newfound appreciation for how he sees the world in blurred colors?

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