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I find Quade’s “Nemecia” extremely intriguing. As the reader, I love how there is no certainty given (through the entire first half of the story) to the clarification of whether Nemecia has actually killed her mother and father. Quade adds suspense to the story by having the reader rely on Nemecia’s (just like how Maria had believed her) story of how her mother and father died. The reader can almost feel the same tension during confrontations between Nemecia and Maria as much as Maria does.

This is a coming-of-age story that shows how certain life circumstances shape the person one becomes. Due to the violent acts Nemecia has 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 his/her feelings and does 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 receives favorable attention from her own 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 statement 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.” (23)

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. However, the ending sentence reveals that, although Nemecia appears to be calm and collected on the outside, she is still a troubled person who feels shattered and broken on the inside.

Nemecia held a wineglass up to the window and turned it. “See how clear?” Shards of light moved across her face. (26)

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