From silence to recognition: giving voice to minority girls in Rita Williams-Garcia's “One crazy summer” (2010) and Cynthia Kadohata's “The thing about luck” (2013)
Cachón Gracia, Oihane
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It is widely known that the United States is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Some researchers assure that the several settlements and the massive immigration to the country have contributed to the plurality as well as to the enrichment of its society, but they also state that, as a result, minorities have had to undergo a systematic process of racial discrimination. The purpose of this paper is to explore how this discrimination affects Delphine and Summer, the protagonists of the acclaimed middle-grade novels One Crazy Summer (2010), by the African American author Rita Williams-Garcia, and The Thing About Luck (2013), by the Japanese American author Cynthia Kadohata, as well as to prove that this is not the only discrimination they suffer: being children in a world ruled by adults and being female in a patriarchal world complicates to a great extent their integration into society. The first part of the analysis deals with the implications of belonging to a minority, both in terms of how this belonging affects the way the protagonists perceive themselves and in terms of how they are treated by the society of the country they live in. Secondly, it will be described how the main characters, for being children, are forced to rely on the behavior of the adults in their families – particularly on the figures of the mother and the grandmother – and how that dependency is often emotionally painful for them. Finally, the third section shows how the protagonists, for being women, must adapt to the gender roles dictated by a patriarchal society. This essay also aims at highlighting the value of children’s literature as a means to educate its young readers in the enrichment minorities bring to any society as well as in the importance of embracing our differences instead of using them to discriminate our fellow human beings.