Abuela Invents the Zero by Judith Ortiz Cofer Summary

  • Category: Literature,
  • Words: 799 Pages: 3
  • Published: 07 April 2021
  • Copied: 196

“Abuela Invents the Zero,” by Judith Ortiz Cofer, is a story that teaches readers a valuable lesson as they go through a story of a teenager struggling with her Abuela coming to town. In the story, “Abuela Invents the Zero,” Constancia’s attitude changes throughout. At the beginning of this story, Constancia is embarrassed to be seen with her Abuela. In the middle of the story, Constancia feels humiliated by her Abuela. By the end though, Constancia realizes that she feels sorry for being hurtful to Abuela. In the end, Constancia also learns the lesson to treat the people she cares about with respect and appreciate having them in her life.

At the beginning of, “Abuela Invents the Zero,” Constancia feels embarrassed to be seen with Abuela. In the quote, “He hands her over to my parents like she was a package sent by airmail,” Abuela is first being picked up and is walking out of the airplane. How Constancia describes her grandma, in this quote, as a package sent by airmail displays how she is embarrassed by Abuela calling attention to herself. In the quote, “It is January, two feet of snow on the ground, and she’s wearing a shawl over a thin black dress,” Constancia is surprised by what her Abuela is wearing in the middle of winter in New Jersey. This quote addresses Constancia being embarrassed by what her Abuela is wearing. In the quote, “I try to walk far behind them in public so that no one will think we are together,” Abuela has changed to a large coat that is too big for Abuela and doesn’t fit her. This quote illustrates how much Constancia is embarrassed by Abuela's coat and doesn’t want to be seen with her. In all of these quotes from the beginning of, “Abuela Invents the Zero,” Constancia feels embarrassed by her grandmother.

In the middle of, “Abuela Invents the Zero,” Constancia feels humiliated by her grandmother. In the quote, “The sight of her little head with a bun on top of it sticking out of that hug coat makes me want to run back into my room and get under the covers,” Abuela is wearing the large coat that Constancia believes makes her Abuela look ridiculous. This portrays that Constancia is humiliated by what her grandma looks like and doesn’t want to be seen with her. In the quote, “I am so embarrassed that even though the woman next to me is shooting daggers at me with her eyes, I just can’t move to go get her,” Constancia is so embarrassed by her grandmother for getting lost in the Church that she can’t seem to move and draw more attention to herself. In the quote, “I hope no one sees us together,” Constancia hasn’t yet been humiliated by her grandmother in the Church, but she still doesn’t want to be seen and embarrassed by her Abuela. In all of these quotes from the middle of, “Abuela Invents the Zero,” Constancia feels humiliated by Abuela.

By the end of, “Abuela Invents the Zero,” Constancia feels sorry for being hurtful and not considerate of her grandmother’s feelings. Constancia also learns, in the end, the lesson of being respectful to others and appreciating her family. In the quote, “I try to explain to them what happened...but even it sounds lame to me,” Abuela has just told Constancia how she felt like a zero. Constancia tries to explain that she didn’t have that intention of hurting her grandma, but Constancia still knows that she should be sorry for what she did. In the quote, “I can feel myself shrinking right here in front of her. But I can’t bring myself to tell my mother that I think I understand how I made Abuela feel,” Constancia’s mother has just told her that she made Abuela feel like nothing. This is the turning point in the story where Constancia realizes how her actions had hurt her Abuela and try to gain the strength to apologize for treating Abuela how she did. In the quote, “That’s when I’m sent to my room to consider a number I hadn’t thought much about- until today,” Constancia finally learns her lesson and the true meaning of zero. She learned that she should appreciate her grandmother and treat her with the respect she deserves. In these quotes from the end of, “Abuela Invents the Zero,” Constancia feels sorry for how she has treated her Abuela and has learned her lesson of being respectful and appreciative of others.

Although it took Constancia a while to realize it, she learned that when she didn’t treat people with respect or treat them in a hurtful way they can feel like a zero. Constancia learned this lesson throughout this story as readers see her attitude change. In the beginning and middle of, “Abuela Invents the Zero,” Constancia is embarrassed and humiliated by her grandmother’s clothes and actions. By the end though, Constancia concludes that she feels sorry for treating her grandmother in such a way and regrets her actions while learning her lesson. This is a great story for readers to learn a very valuable lesson by reading through Constancia’s mistakes.

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