The Queen of Water
An ALA Amelia Bloomer Selection An ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta-stupid Indian-by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds. In this poignant novel based on a true story, acclaimed author Laura Resau has collaborated with María Virginia Farinango to recount one girl's unforgettable journey to self-discovery. Virginia's story will speak to anyone who has ever struggled to find his or her place in the world. It will make you laugh and cry, and ultimately, it will fill you with hope. From the Hardcover edition.
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Queen of the Water is a novel by Laura Resau cowritten by Marina Virginia Farinango. The novel is a memoir based on Virginia's inspiring struggle to overcome her humble beginnings and make her own way in the world. (This annotation contains an image)
To begin the novel, the female narrator reveals that the setting of this story will be in the South American country of Ecuador and that she is a descendant of the ancient Inca, who were conquered by the conquistadors (Spanish conquerers who came and established control over Mexico and Peru during the 16th century). (This annotation contains an image)
Which group does the narrator belong to?
Watch the short video clip below explaining hyperbole. As you delve into this novel, be on the lookout for examples of hyperbole and other types of figurative language. (This annotation contains a video)
What type of figurative language is used in the highlighted sentence to emphasize Virginia's dreams?
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
The women in the picture below are wearing the traditional wide skirt (anaco) and lace blouse favored in this part of the country. (This annotation contains an image)
Mood is the feeling created by the author's words within the reader. What would accurately describe how most readers feel after reading the highlighted text?
Words have the power to harm or heal. Here, Viriginia's mother's wish seems to be coming true, and it inflicts an internal wound. Notice the negative tone created by the highlighted text. What advice would you give to Virginia to help her cope with her mother's words and actions?
What happens to Zoyla and Gregoria?
The highlighted text uses the type of figurative language known as personification which gives human characteristics and actions to objects.
Below are two different pictures of the setting, Yana Urku, where Virginia and her family live. (This annotation contains an image)
Virginia believes Mamita will come for her like she did when Virginia was taken to Marta's to live. What is the difference between Virigina living with the Doctorita and Nino Carlitos versus Marta?
The highlighted simile compares Doctorita's voice to a blender. The connotation associated with this simile is that the woman's voice is sharp, high-pitched, and grates on the listener's ears.
Which image would be most likely to convey a similar connotation to the highlighted text?
Watch the short video explanation of point of view and cultural perspective. (This annotation contains a link)
From what point of view is this story written?
The ways in which an author reveals characters to readers is called characterization. Often times you will need to infer what a character is like based on his or her dialogue, relationship with other characters, physical description, thoughts, feelings, or action. Here, we can infer that the Doctoriata is cruel based on her dialogue, the way she speaks, and her actions.
Nino Carlitos' reminder that Virginia is just a young girl is important to keep in mind. Earlier in the exposition, we learned that she is probably only six or seven years old. However, she is expected to cook meals, clean, and take care of a baby. Essentially, her childhood is over. This story is giving us a glimpse into the Mestizos society's expectations for Indigenas.
Which statement most accurately reflects Virginia's situation?
While Virginia refers to the "mountain" pictured below, it is actually the inactive Imbabura Volcano. (This annotation contains an image)
Which theme is represented within the highlighted text?
Notice how when Virginia is presented with the the exciting prospect of going out alone, the Doctorita cuts her down with words. She is helping to solidify Virginia's belief that her mother does not want her. The Doctorita's verbal abuse is just as ugly, harmful, and uncalled for as her physical abuse.
Who are Marina and Marlenny?
What effect does the word "thunders" have on readers in this sentence?
Below is a picture of three boys wearing ponchos in Ecquador. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the purpose of Viriginia's flashback to her first and only experience with school?
Virginia turns to her imagination to help her escape the horrors of her situation. Have you ever used your imagination to sweep you away from a difficult situation? Is this an effective coping method?
What can you infer from Virginia's actions?
Notice that in this society, "white" skin is prized and considered more beautiful. What characteristics or qualities should be used to determine beauty?
Below is a picture of the pyramids. (This annotation contains an image)
What tone is conveyed in the highlighted text?
As you continue to read, look for evidence of whether or not Virginia is becoming embarrassed by her heritage.
What is meant by the expression "the bus is a lemon"?
Below is a picture of tropical guava fruit. (This annotation contains an image)
Virginia's viewpoint is optimistic. Which of the novel's themes is supported by the highlighted paragraph?
Virginia's thoughts and actions here reveal the complexity of her feelings towards her parents. On one hand, she desperately longs for their approval, love, and to resume her old life with them. On the other hand, she is constantly plagued with doubts about their feelings towards her. In addition, her tangled feelings concerning the family she is living with creates new tension as the story continues.
Which type of conflict is illustrated by the highlighted text?
Quiz One on Part One
Virginia admits that the Doctorita can be cruel but "is not all evil." What does this admission most likely reveal about Virginia?
Click on the the title of the poem "Immigrants" by Pat Mora below to read it. Be prepared to answer a question comparing the theme of assimilation in both the poem and the novel. (This annotation contains a link)
In spite of the genre differences, explain how the theme of assimilation reveals itself in Pat Mora's poem "Immigrants" and Virginia's story in this novel.
Below is a picture of the T.V. character MacGyver. It is interesting to note that "His mind is the ultimate weapon" because Virginia embraced a similar philosophy in the beginning of the story. (This annotation contains an image)
The map below depicts the Andes Mountains in yellow. As you can see, the range stretches the length of South America, including Ecuador. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is the man's music important?
To Virginia, the use of the simile comparing books to locked boxes is spot-on. She is illiterate and can't read. However, if the earlier part of the novel is any indication, Virginia will use the adversity in her life to make herself stronger.
What does the highlighted text reveal about the Doctorita?
Notice the change in tone. Earlier in the chapter, Virginia describes books and words as being locked boxes. However, now the figurative language is used to convey a tone of hope.
Complete the metaphor below from Virginia's perspective: Reading is ________________. Be sure to explain your comparison.
Below is a picture of poppy flowers. While beautiful, one species' seeds can be used to make opium, a powerful drug. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the central idea of the highlighted paragraph?
Look at the diagram on static electricity below. As you can imagine, Virginia is going to be motivated to learn about static electricity as well as the other topics being studied. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Virginia do while the family is out shopping?
Which type of figurative language is used in the highlighted sentence to convey a tone of excitement?
Below is a painting by the famous Mexican artist Diego RIvera. The bent man in the middle is hauling sugar cane. (This annotation contains an image)
Explain what is meant by Virginia's statement "It gives me a backward kind of power."
Watch the short video on foreshadowing. As you continue to read, look for evidence that "Her words seemed sugarcoated, hiding dark intentions...I feel a chill" is in fact an example of foreshadowing. (This annotation contains a video)
Even though Virginia's tone in the highlighted description tends to be contemptuous, scornful, and even bewildered, you can hear the pain that lies just beneath her harsh judgement of her old home. She, like humans all around the world, desperately wants to be loved and valued. She is struggling with her identity and her sense of worth.
What does Virginia find in the Bible?
The narrator often uses opposites to draw our attention to something important. Here, Matilde's physical description is in stark contrast to Virginia's appearance. Virginia helps us to understand the tumultuous relationship she has with her sister. Many of the complications arose because Virginia feels inadequate.
What overall tone is conveyed in the highlighted text?
As a reader, the fact that Virigina mentions that she must remind herself to return to start the sterilization machine makes me wonder if there is a good chance she will forget. If this is the case, what will the consequences be?
Who does Virginia view as a father figure in her life?
Virginia's description of her father reveals that he is an extremely violent man who rules with an iron fist. Abuse of any kind is never acceptable. However, in an effort to better understand the complexities of each character, what do you think causes Papito's penchant for violence?
Explain what Virginia means in the highlighted text.
Watch this short video explaining protagonists and antagonists. Is there more than one antagonist in this story? (This annotation contains a video)
What is the purpose of the hyperbole used in the highlighted text?
Who is the protagonist of this story?
Different cultures have different definitions of beauty. For example, in Virginia's village, women who are round may be considered more beautiful than thin women because it means larger women have enough to eat. Watch this short video that shows how beauty can be manipulated. What do you think is meant at the end when it says, "No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted"? (This annotation contains a video)
Virginia believes in only one type of beauty, like the final product on the billboard in the Dove "Evolution" commercial. Which theme is shared by both the commercial and this section of the novel?
Below is a list of symptoms associated with the eating disorder, anorexia. Virginia is going down a dangerous path with serious even fatal consequences. (This annotation contains an image)
Even though Virigina made a very poor decision to stop eating, her decision to tell the truth reveals what about her?
Are Virginia's struggles with her appearance common in today's society? Is this a struggle only for her age group? What can women and men do to help overcome these struggles?
Which literary device is used in the highlighted text?
The picture below is of an altar set up in celebration of the Day of the Dead. This holiday is primarily celebrated in Mexico, and it involves family members praying and remembering loved ones who have died. (This annotation contains an image)
Which word best characterizes Virginia's life with her Mamito and Papito?
Below is a picture of a pearl in an oyster shell like Virginia is describing. This image is important because Virginia can see beauty hidden inside the oyster. (This annotation contains an image)
Using the highlighted text, explain how Virginia's feelings mirror the "somber procession of the dead" that occurs during The Day of the Dead.
Below is a diagram of magnets work. Notice as you continue to read how this image is used to describe relationships between characters. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Nino Carlitos do the night he comes home drunk?
Virginia's thoughts reveal that she feels she is unable to trust the adults in her life, and with good reason. She believes that she must rely on herself. Will she be able to evade Nino Carlitos' sexual advances?
What do the Doctorita's words and actions reveal?
This closing sentence foreshadows that things are about to change for the good. As you continue to read, look for evidence of whether this prediction is correct.
Which would not be a similarity between Virginia and Isaura from "The Slave Isaura"?
Below is a picture from the television show, "The Slave Isaura." (This annotation contains an image)
Notice that the use of italics in the highlighted text creates a more sinister tone. Virginia and readers understand that if Nino Carlitos finds out that she didn't obey, Virginia will be in deep trouble. If the phrase was not italicized it would have felt less severe.
What does Antonio compare Virginia to?
By the Doctorita comparing Leo to a string bean (like the ones pictured below), readers understand that he is most likely tall and skinny. (This annotation contains an image)
What connotation is associated with the highlighted simile?
Using the map of Ecuador below, locate Ibarra in relation to Quito and Otavalo. (This annotation contains an image)
Summarize the main idea of the highlighted passage.
Notice that the simile "I feel like an empty house myself" conveys a sad and even nostalgic tone. However, the second half of the sentence conveys a more optimistic and hopeful tone when Viriginia says, "about to start a new life filled with new things."
Who or what foils Virginia's plan to run away with Antonio?
Notice that the use of repetition helps to create a sense of hopelessness. Virginia is pouring out her grief through her poetry. What are the advantages and disadvantages to this method of coping?
What connotation is associated with the highlighted figurative language?
What does the Doctorita offer Viriginia to entice her to stay?
Notice how Virginia compares the moon to a "luminescent potato peel." This is an unusual comparison. Why do you think Virginia creates this comparison?
Which central idea best characterizes Virginia's relationship with Nino Carlitos?
What do you think Virginia means here? Why is it "safer and simpler" outside?
Watch the short video which offers an explanation of flashbacks in literature. How have flashbacks helped to develop your understanding of Virginia in this text? (This annotation contains a video)
Virginia experiences a roller-coaster of emotions while talking with her sister, Matilde. What news does Matilde share that ultimately destroys Virginia's hopes for a fresh beginning?
Notice the way that Virginia often introduces objects, like the Baby Jesus dresses from the beginning of the book, before later explaining their significance. Here, she uses figurative language in a metaphor with the dresses to convey how intertwined Virginia and the Doctorita's family have become.
Explain the significance of the highlighted text. Do Virginia's actions and words signify a change?
Below is a picture of pink bougainvillea like the one mentioned in the text. Notice that Virginia's description of her sister is earthly, natural, and beautiful. How are the two sisters' appearances different? What does this suggest about each character? (This annotation contains an image)
Which statement below best summarizes Virginia's feelings?
Virginia, like many victims of abuse, has been conditioned to live in fear and to depend on her captors. Virginia's statement illustrates the psychological control that the Doctorita and Nino Carlitos exert over her.
Which of the novel's themes is reflected within this chapter?
The italicized question is a thought-- Virginia does not actually say it aloud. It helps us to understand her confusion, and we are reminded of how young she was when she was taken from her biological family.
What can you infer about Papito's motivation in questioning Nino Carlitos?
Below is a picture of Yaguarcocha Lake. As you continue to read, look for an explanation of the lake's sacredness. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the myth that Virginia recounts about the lake tie into her own story?
Below is a picture of the landscape of Virginia's home. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the purpose of describing Virginia's parents' house?
Although it may seem cruel to snap the chicken's neck, it is important to remember that in Virginia's culture, using animals for food is essential to survival.
Having clean, safe drinking water is something that many of us take for granted. The countries in green on the map below represent those who have widespread access to clean drinking water. Most people have access to clean drinking water in the yellow countries. Only one in every four people have access to clean drinking water in the red countries. (This annotation contains an image)
Which image does Virginia compare herself to?
Below is a picture of a sombrero hat. (This annotation contains an image)
This paragraph is important in understanding Virginia at this point in the story. We can see the themes of freedom, independence, forgiveness, and identity emerging.
Based on the highlighted selection, which word would be least likely to characterize Virginia in this moment?
The term "knocked up" is a derogatory way to describe a pregnant woman. What is Nino Carlitos implying?
What is Virginia's relationship with her parents like since moving back home?
Watch the short video on the difference between internal and external conflict. The two types of conflict can be further broken down into categories such as: character versus self (internal), character versus character (external), character versus nature (external), and character versus society (external). (This annotation contains a video)
Who wrote the play that brings everyone to tears?
What do you think is motivating or driving Papito here? Why do you think he is opposed to Virginia getting an education?
What is the primary type of conflict in the highlighted passage?
Below is a picture of Ecuadorian currency. (This annotation contains an image)
What type of figurative language is used in the highlighted text to convey the intensity of Virginia's connection with books?
At this point in the story, Virginia is proving to be persistent and resourceful in trying to achieve her dream of getting an education.
What secret does Virginia keep from her friends at school?
What type of building can you infer this is?
Below is a picture of the Hotel Otavalo. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Virginia feel a bond with the foreigners?
Below is a picture of the Peguche waterfall. (This annotation contains an image)
Which characteristic does Virginia possess as a result of living with multiple families? She is ________.
Who is Rosita?
Virginia has become a master at creating illusions. The downside to always hiding her past is that she constantly lives in fear of her secret becoming known.
The highlighted text may be foreshadowing Virginia's friends finding out about her heritage. How do you think they'll react?
What ultimately tips Sonia off that Virginia may be an indigena?
According to Virginia, cutting her hair would allow her to try to deny her heritage if the others at school have found out. However, it could also be seen as a sure sign of guilt. Why else would Virginia cut her hair right after her conversation with Sonia? What do you believe Virginia should do in this situation?
Read the short excerpt from Sandra Cisneros' short story, "Eleven." Expect to encounter a question comparing the main idea in this passage to Virginia's story. (This annotation contains an image)
Virginia decides to not cut off her hair and essentially the years of her childhood. She says, "They're a part of me; they made me what I am now." Explain how this is similiar to the viewpoint on age found in Sandra Cisneros' "Eleven."
The man in the park is telling discriminatory jokes which only serve to widen the gap between these two groups in Ecuadorian society and breed intolerance. What are ways that you can encourage tolerance, kindness, and equality in your own community?
Who is revealed to be the antagonist in the highlighted text?
Read Langston Hughes' poem, "I, Too, Sing America." Hughes's is known for his depiction of life for blacks during the 1920s-1960s, and his literary works helped shaped the Harlem Renaissance. Expect to encounter a question about the similarities between this poem and Virginia's experiences. (This annotation contains an image)
Which central idea is shared by both Langston Hughes's poem, "I, Too, Sing America" and Virginia's fears concerning the pool party?
Based on the title of this work, what do you think is going to happen?
Which word best characterizes Virginia's participation in the competition?
Why is it important that Virginia sees herself as beautiful when wearing traditional indigena clothes?
Who primarily challenges and encourages Virginia to take pride in her indigenia way of life?
Watch the short video on static versus dynamic characters. As you continue to read, consider which characters fit each definition. (This annotation contains a video)
Which fairytale does Virginia's story resemble at this point in the novel?
Notice that Mamita admits to being devastated by the loss of her daughter. How might this revelation affect Virginia?
Which of the novel's themes is incorporated into Virginia and Mamita's conversation? How does this conversation make Virginia feel?
Watch Colbie Caillat's music video for her song, "Try." As you watch, consider how the central message of this song applies to Virginia. (This annotation contains a video)
Identify the central idea in Colbie Caillat's music video "Try" and explain how this message applies to Virginia's life.
Consider how far Virginia has come. Why does she deserve to win above the other girls?
How do the students and teachers react to Virginia's win?
Virginia's statement reveals that she is still struggling with her identity. How has her struggle with her identity changed throughout the story?
Below is an example of a formal place setting. (This annotation contains an image)
Summarize the central idea of the highlighted text in your own words. How does this correlate with some of the novel's main themes?
Based on Virginia's reaction in the highlighted text, who do you predict is waiting for her?
Below is a picture of freestyle wrestling. Picture the Doctorita and Virginia as opponents circling each other like the men below. (This annotation contains an image)
What does the Doctorita's words reveal about her?
Which description best defines Virginia?
Explain what Virginia means when she says that she feels "a new kind of freedom."
Below is picture of Ecuadorian women marching in a parade. Notice their colorful outfits. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Virginia "feel like the Queen of Water"?
Virginia is faced with an internal conflict here. She can deny her humble beginnings by ignoring her father, or she can acknowledge her pride in family and heritage by answering her father publicly. Earlier in the novel, Virginia would probably choose to ignore her father. What will she do now?