Friendship is a mutual relationship of care, trust and love that exist between two people or a group of people. Friendship does not recognize any barrier since it does not depend on age, gender, religion or race. A person may have a large circle of friends, but a person can only depend on one or two who he can share true friendship and are ready to stick with you through thick and thin. True friendship is a gift shared by two people who are willing to nurture and protect for it to continue to grow.
The Gift by Rosario Ferre and the Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands by Alexia Arthurs books both focus on the friendship between young women: Merceditas and Carlotta, and Kimberly and Cecilia respectively. The two short stories are both unique and effective in addressing friendship. They both share certain similarities and differences. Comparing and contrasting each authors work will help illustrate how the two stories are alike and different.
The Gift storybook narrating the friendship between Merceditas and Carlotta setting is based in a learning institution: girls boarding high school. The school is run and managed by Catholic nuns and located in a small island known as Santa Cruz. Conversely, Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands story is based in a university setting, located in New York City. The institution admits student of both gender and from all social and economic background. Both short stories are about friendship involving young women; in the Gift story, Merceditas illustrated the pure virtual of friendship by standing to protect Carlotta from the wrath of the nuns. Conversely, Arthur’s friendship story ends with a breakup of friendship because of different opinions on the matter of race among the two friends
The theme of religion has been demonstrated in both stories. In the Gift story, Merceditas and Carlotta school been a Catholic school, Mother Artigas and other nuns were strict on imposing religious belief and culture to students. According to Mother Artigas, religious indifference was the worst sin, and she uses to encourage Merceditas to alternate her studies and visits the chapel more frequently. She said,” burning flame in which the believer must purify his soul before arriving at the divine union with God.” (Arthurs 106). On Arthur’s story, religion has been captured when illustrating the importance of religious belief as a problem-solve for human suffering. Kimberly, when having a conversation with her mother, her mother mentions that she is going to get down on her knees and pray for Mrs. Sheryl.
Education discrimination against women as been representing in both stories as well as the role women are ‘supposed’ to play in the society. In the Gift story, Merceditas was working harder to graduate with a high academic qualification which could help her secure a scholarship. Her parents were only willing to pay her school fees up to high school level since profession was considered to be unnecessary for women. Merceditas was looking for a way she could avoid living the kind of life women were living in her society which involves alternating between church and household chores. In Merceditas family, women would spend most of their time playing tennis and swimming on a daily routine. Kimberly says that most women in her neighborhood, especially those married would spend most of their time sitting on the street waiting for the time to make dinner for their husbands as they come from work.
Both New York City and Santa Cruz live people from different economic backgrounds. The Gift short story illustrates discrimination of people with regards to their financial status as poor people are segregated by those who are wealthy. The high school primarily was meant for the children from the wealthy family. Discrimination against the poor was across all aspect of life as the wealth members did not like to integrate with the rest. For instance, during social events such as the carnivals, the poor were not allowed to participate in any activity. After Carlotta invited all young from the town, including those from low-income families, Mother Artigas cited this as one reason for expelling Carlotta for insulting their social class. However, in the Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands people living in New York had no discrimination concerning economic level. A person associated with each other with on barriers Kimberly describes to a house party hosted by Zoe Cecilia friend who she could tell was wealthy from the size of the apartment (Ferre 26).
Arthurs has significantly captured the theme of immorality among the school children in her book. It has been expressed from the mode of dressing to personal characters. Kimberly described her friend Sheryl wearing housedress with no bra exposing her big breasts. Kimberly narrated the issues of smoking Marijuana, drinking alcohol and engaging in sex. More so some of her friends were participating in a same-sex relationship. Jose requested Kimberly if she could deliver a note to Malik, a guy he had a relationship. In Gift story, Carlotta school was established based on Christian. The school was more concerned with the behavior of the students and had structured rules and regulations to be followed. The students were not allowed to wear tight clothes and use makeups and had no free time to go outside the school.
Everyone needs a closest person whom they can develop a mutual friendship built based on trust and care. Friends’ offers support and comfort to each other and real friends are ready to fight for each other. Friendship is never based on age, sex or religion just two people who are ready to ignite the flame of friendship.
Arthurs, Alexia. “Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowland” How in Love of American Ballantine, 2018, pp. 3-31
Ferre, Rosario. “The Gift.” Sweat Diamond Dust and Other Stories. Plume 198, pp. 89 – 118