Outer characterisation

Abel is an important character in Sara Collins' story, “Say You” by Sara Collins. His outer characterisation tells us that he is an illegal immigrant coming from Cuba, who is physically attractive and assumes a leader position among his friends: “...Abel, a tall, quiet boy with a hard face whom the other boys called El Jefe.” (l. 36) Note that “El Jefe” means “the boss” in Spanish. At the end, we find out that he lied about his name and that he is actually married with children.

Because the story gives a collective background to all Cuban immigrants, we can presume that Abel faced the same challenges when he left Cuba – making boats in secret and risking his life and that of his family: “…helping their papas build the boats before they left, in covered courtyards, in garages, in abandoned churches and sometimes in someone’s living room – pushing everything aside to make room, knowing they risked prison if caught.” (ll. 56-58). Like all the other immigrants, Abel is also probably heading towards Miami: “They worried that they wouldn’t like Miami, after their parents had risked everyone’s lives to get there. Then what?” (ll. 59-60).

Inner characterisation

Abel’s inner characterisation is conveyed in relation to Jewel, through his actions and attitude.

As we are given little direct insight into Abel’s feelings, we do not know whether Abel loved Jewel at any point or was only looking to have fun, but the story tells us that they begin to date and that they have a sexual relationship. His attitude suggests that he was very persuasive when convin...

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