Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.


Throughout the novel, nicknames are used to convey a sense of intimacy. This intimacy can be positive, such as when the Garcia daughters refer to their mother as Mami to express affection. On the other hand, nicknames can convey a negative sense of being overly familiar, such as when John refers to Yolanda as Josephine, anglicizing her name and distorting her identity in the process.