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The Golden Castle

When Carolina writes, she imagines she “lives in a golden castle that shines in the sunlight.” The act of writing represents many things for Carolina. Writing offers refuge from the humiliations and setbacks she experiences on a daily basis. It is also a source of illumination—it offers Carolina a place to process her thoughts and form meaningful conclusions about what she observes.

A Bird in a Cage

In casting the president of Brazil as a bird in a cage, Carolina implies that he is trapped in his own ignorance and is ineffectual at making changes, especially concerning the poor. The image of the bird in a cage makes diminutive a figure of presumably great power. In this construction, Carolina casts the president as a small and confined bird, while the favelados are wild and hungry cats. This symbol is especially interesting in terms of describing a shifting power relationship. She leaves uncertain the possibility of when the cats will get the bird, and doesn’t specify whether or not the bird has anything with which to protect itself beyond the flimsy bars of a self-constructed cage.

The Beautiful Woman with Cheap Stockings

By personifying São Paulo as a beautiful woman with cheap, ragged stockings underneath her fine clothing, Carolina creates a colorful, playful representation of the favela. The rich people of São Paulo must recognize that their lives are intertwined with those of the favelados and act accordingly. The image suggests two of the major themes that define Carolina’s diary: the blindness of authority and the symbiosis of the rich and poor. In this case, Carolina chides São Paulo for not seeing its cheap stockings. By putting the city of São Paulo and the favelas on the body of the same beautiful woman, Carolina reveals their inherent interconnectedness.