Sadness ruin the sweetness

Read this snippet carefully and notice how it affects you.

What would it be like to have my mom come watch my games, comfort me if I lost, celebrate my victories?

Now, that was wishing for the moon, and before I let sadness ruin the sweetness of this moment, I joined my teammates in jumping and singing around our coach.

"Vení, vení, cantá conmigo, que una amiga vas a encontrar. Que de la mano de Coach Alicia, todas la vuelta vamos a dar!"

We did our Olympic run around the field, trailing behind Coach Alicia, waving our tattered flag.

No one wanted to stop celebrating.

Once we left the field, it would be back to regular life. Back to being ordinary. Here, we were the Rosarina Ladies' League champions, and the feeling was more intoxicating than a cup of forbidden beer on a hot summer night.

How do you feel when you read this snippet? What makes you feel the way you do?
  • Characters: Camila and her team.
  • Conflict: Winning a soccer match; parents don't care; passage of time and return to normality.
  • Context: Argentinian girls wanting to be athletes in an unsupportive environment.

The mood is bittersweet:

  • There are lots of upbeat words: celebrate, victories, sweetness, jumping, singing, run, waving, intoxicating.
  • But these are mixed with downbeat words: comfort, lost, wishing, sadness, tattered, regular, ordinary.
  • And the energy is moderate: there is lots of activity and motion, but it is described with a steady rhythm, and from a wide view blurs the actions of lots of people into one mass.

Camila feels excited, happy, celebratory, intoxicated—but also sad.

  • Trigger: Winning the championship, but without her mom supporting.
  • Feelings: Intoxicated.
  • Thoughts: Imagining mom's support, no one wants to stop celebrating, leaving the field would be back to regular life.
  • Emotions: Celebratory, sad. 
  • Behaviour: Jumping, singing, running, waving the flag.

This is an interesting comparison with the House on Mango Street snippet on the previous page.

Both are first person narratives about longing, from the point of view of teenage girls, but told from different distances:

  • In Mango Street, Cisneros writes from inside Esperanza's body.
  • In Furia, Méndez writes from a greater distance. While we hear Camila's thoughts, they are more summary-level, and we only touch on a feeling at the end of the snippet, with the metaphor of the forbidden beer on a hot summer night.

The effect is as if Camila is describing a memory, and that's where the sense of distance comes from: she can remember her thoughts, summarise the actions, and capture a couple of vivid feelings, but she also recognises that moment as being a kind of bubble, with troubles lurking beyond it.

So we understand what Camila is feeling, but we feel it from a distance and not as strongly.

Does the snippet use contrast?


  • The natural contrast of winning vs losing.
  • The sweetness of the victory vs the sadness of her mother not being there.
  • Being a champion for one group of people vs being ignored by another (her parents).
  • Having a peak moment on the field vs dull moments in ordinary life.

So Camila herself has contrasting emotions.

But do we have emotions beyond Camila's?

Not really.

Camila tells us about her mixed feelings, and we empathise, but there's nothing in the snippet designed to make us feel anything beyond that.