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Another One Bites the “Dust”

Sweet Diamond Dust, written by Rosario Ferre, focuses on modernization and how it’s impacted the country of Puerto Rico and it’s people. This book discusses the struggles and hardships of managing sugar mills and the influential changes the Americans brought to Puerto Rico in the early 1900’s. The Americans triumph over the local landowners and their sugar mills, was not all from their own doings. Their successes is in part of the town’s own greed. Through manipulation, persuasion, and cunnings, Diamond Dust was able to survive through the toughest of hardships, and still manage to be the only competitor (in Puerto Rico) to the northerners.

With Diamond Dust’s success also came a price, and with the very same methods that brought the mill to its climax, also made it fall to its knees, through greed. In the beginning there was much talk of how proud the people of Puerto Rico were of their country, “Built on the gently rolling slopes that descend form Mount Guamani, it looks upon a savannah of fabulously fertile loam, whose sabled, furrowed topsoil is considered to be one of the richest in the world. 3-4) But as the book progresses, it begins to reveal its true side. The town of Guamani was not as peaceful and giving as it is told to be. The writer tends to discuss how the Americans arrival has changed the town for the worse. ” Far from being a paradise, Guamani has become a hell, a monstrous whirlpool from which the terrifying funnel of Snow White Sugar Mills spews out sugar night and day toward the north. ” (7)

Many Puerto Ricans of lower stature or less well of than the rich, truly believed the northerners were saviors who helped modernize a town in need of relief: All this was done away with when the foreigners came: they established modern methods of reaping and planting; the field hands were treated like human beings instead of like slaves; their children could go to school; they were given adequate housing and shoes In other words, the northerners were a blessing to the poor and to the middle class as well, albeit to the rich. 8)

Diamond Dust faced many hardships that could have easily wiped it out of business, but thanks to the devotion and patience spent managing the land, it overcame many close turnovers. Between Don Julio’s struggles with the bank owners lending him money to save his sugar mill and Don Ubaldino being cheated out of his birth right inheritance of the sugar mill, these two brilliant business men managed to achieve what they wanted; to see Diamond Dust succeed and not fall to the northerners.

The same greedy passion that drove the two men to fight for their precious mill is also what brought Gloria and Titina to burn it down. ” When I listened to Dona Laura’s story a few minutes ago I finally realized what we had to do, Titina; what this land, spent from the struggle that had gone on for so long in its bosom, was ordering us to do. ” (83) Another quote,” The important thing is that we still have each other, so that now we can sing together the words of that old song, as we light up the cellar of the house with our torches.

Through all the controversy among the town of Guamani and the greedy battles between the De la Valles’ and the other families, they all had one thing in common; to succeed in having control of their land. Through greed, Diamond Dust fell to its knees and was unsuccessful. In the end the very thing the very thing that they all fought so hard for, was lost to the Americans, so as the story goes, “Another one bites the dust! “

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