Carla assumed he wanted directions and felt embarrassed that her English was

Carla assumed he wanted directions and felt

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Carla assumed he wanted directions and felt embarrassed that her English was not good enough to be of much help. He smiled at her in a strangely apologetic way before Carla realized with shock that he was naked from the waist down, with a string tied around his erect penis. He asked her to get into the car but she backed away, struck dumb. He masturbated and Carla ran down the street.Her mother called the police when Carla explained what had happened, but Laura did not understand what it meant to file charges. The police insisted on talking directly to Carla, even though she was afraid of them. She could only say that the man had little hair and was in a green car. The police needed more useful details about the car or the man's appearance, and seemed frustrated with her limited English vocabulary. She was also mortified to have to describe what she had seen him doing, since she did not have the vocabulary in Spanish or English to effectively articulate what she had seen. After noting that he had a string around his thing, the police left. After this incident her mother walked her to and from school, and she later changed schools, but Carla was still haunted by the memory of the boys who taunted her to go back to the Dominican Republic. As she fell asleep, she would pray to return to a place full of those people who knew and loved her.
AnalysisAs the oldest daughter, Carla has the closest ties to the Dominican Republic, and the most trouble adapting to the English language and American culture. The harassment she endures also makes her painfully aware of the hostility toward immigrants that faces the family in theirnew home. Aside from the pain of leaving her extended family and the difficulty of transitioning to a new neighborhood, school and country, Carla also faces the traumas of puberty that any girl her age encounters. Her innocence regarding sex leaves her unprepared to deal with a perverted exhibitionist and possible child molester.Ironically, Carla seems more permanently disturbed by the boys her own age, who taunt her small breasts and hairy legs, than by the pervertin the green car. It seems that the pervert's strange behavior perplexes Carla, but the boys' stones and slurs leave no doubt that they hate her. She also is particularly ashamed of her English pronunciation and vocabulary. Though she tells the boys to stop their abuse, they ridiculeher pronunciation, disarming her linguistic tools and leaving her without a voice to protest or defend herself.Carla is also left unarmed when she cannot to scream or make a sound as she realizes that the pervert is shocking and possibly dangerous. Even though she is able to explain the situation to her mother, she is unable to use language to her advantage when dealing with the police.

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