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The daughter of divorced parents, Carmen has always depended
on her mother, Christina, and her three best friends to be her family. Although
she loves her father, Albert, her relationship with him is fragile,
and Carmen is afraid to be honest with him about how she feels,
fearing that any conflict will drive him away. She’s proud of her
Puerto Rican side, as well as her curvy body, but spending the summer
with Albert’s new family makes her feel like an outsider. Lydia,
Krista, and Paul are all very white and blond, and Carmen stands
out with her dark skin and full figure. Terrified of telling Albert
how hurt she is that he has replaced her and Christina with a new
family, she instead acts rude and difficult, almost daring the new
family to dislike her. When she throws a rock through the kitchen
window while the family is eating dinner, she is making a desperate
attempt to communicate all the things she stubbornly denies feeling:
hurt, betrayal, anger, and shame. These childish acts of defiance
make Carmen feel bad about herself, and she often wishes she could
act less like a brat and more like a mature adult.
Loving and devoted to her friends, Carmen is the most
introspective of the four girls, always struggling to figure out
where she fits, what she feels, and how to strengthen the girls’
friendship so that it lasts forever. She is the voice that begins
and ends the novel, explaining the girls’ history of being friends
and telling readers about how the Pants came into their lives. Although
all the girls value their friendship, Carmen is the girl who is
most aware of how fragile friendship can be, especially during the
growing-up years when boys, college, and separation are on the horizon.
Because she understands the preciousness of their friendship, she
leads readers into the story and helps us understand that preciousness
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants!