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I found Quade’s “Nemecia” extremely intriguing. As the reader, I loved how there was no certainty given (through the entire first half of the story) to clarify if Nemecia actually killed her mother and father. Having the reader go off of what Nemecia said (just like how Maria had believed her) adds suspense to the story. The reader can almost feel the same nervousness during confrontations between Nemecia and Maria as much as Maria does.

I saw this story as a coming-of-age story that shows how certain life circumstances shape the person one becomes. Due to the violent acts Nemecia had seen her father commit towads her mother, Nemecia grows up lashing out uncontrollably, not knowing how to control her emotions, and in a way she is abusive towards Maria both physically and verbally; she takes on the abusive characteristics of her father. This story shows how a child might act when they have repressed their feelings and do not know how to express their emotions in a healthy way.

As Maria and Nemecia get older, there is always competition between them. Maria is jealous of how Nemecia gets favorable attention from her parents and does not understand why Nemecia is almost favored more than she is (especially when Maria still believes that Nemecia is a murderer). During a heated discussion between Maria and Nemecia about the Corpus Christi procession, Maria exclaims that Nemecia is the one who killed her mother and father. This begins the divergence between Nemecia and Maria that will change their relationship forever.

As Maria and her family arrive in California to see Nemecia’s wedding, the reader sees how time has changed Nemecia.

“Nemecia, hijita,” my mother said. She stepped back and looked at my cousin happily. “Norma,” my cousin said. “My name is Norma.”

This quote shows how time and distance between family members helps each member of the family grow in a way that they otherwise might not have been able to. At the end of the story, the reader is able to see how Nemecia’s character has clearly shifted from being abusive and emotionally unstable to happy and peaceful.

Nemecia held a wineglass up to the window and turned it. “See how clear?” Shards of light moved across her face.

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