Sophie la Fuerta “This taste that felt like diving into a dream flower and coming out on the other side, into the startling sweetness of reality” (207). In Laura Resau’s novel Red Glass, the reader learns that Sophie (the main character) and her family adopt Pablo (an orphan found in the desert). Once Pablo’s family is located in a remote Mexican village, Sophie, her Great aunt Dika, Mr. Lorenzo (Dika’s boyfriend) and Angel (Mr. Lorenzo’s son) embark on a journey to reunite Pablo with his family. The novel recounts their adventures traveling through Mexico and war scarred Guatemala.
During the trip, Sophie overcomes many of her fears by stepping outside of her shell. She learns to transform from a shy lonely “amoeba” to “Sophie La Fuerta,” part of a tightly knit “organism. ” Readers are drawn to the main character Sophie as she gains confidence, learns important life lessons, and falls in love. Being so different from everybody Sophie gets loads of attention that she doesn’t know how to handle without being afraid. At the beginning of the book Sophie is definitely not the kind of girl that likes to meet new people. Sophie calls herself an “amoeba” because she feels like an outsider of the whole “organism. When people approach Sophie many different thoughts start popping into her head that she cannot control. These thoughts that Sophie has control her brain and are making her sick mentally. Sophie has very low self-esteem because she always tells herself bad things. Not only does she have low self-esteem but also a low confidence level in herself. When Sophie, Dika, and Pablo decide to take Pablo back to his family she gets very weary five minutes after they leave, “My stomach tightened, and again, that familiar feeling came, the beginnings of panic—next my heart would race and my breath quicken and my throat dry up”(39).
Sophie tends to panic in lots of situations which drive her to not speak. This is a problem because she cannot make friends without conversing. Two other men that came on this journey with Sophie to Pablo’s village, which Dika and Sophie are happy to be with. Mr. Lorenzo and Angel help Sophie, Dika and Pablo to his village along with their journey to Guatemala. Angel helps Sophie feel comfortable and have some fun. After Angel finds his mother’s jewels he is jumped and had everything stolen from him, which made Sophie push herself past her comfort zone.
Sophie decides to go to Guatemala to save Angel and Mr. Lorenzo because she is gaining confidence. As soon as Sophie leaves for Guatemala she takes action, “I closed Angel’s visa and I wondered how strong I was, wondered what Sophie la Fuerta could do” (176). Sophie is very brave when she goes to Guatemala because there are so many dangers in getting there. Sophie is even pushes herself farther and compels using a hole in the ground to potty. Finally, when Sophie finds the two men she is a great deal of help by getting their papers to them so they can all head back home to Tucson.
Sophie does not learn how to control her fears on her own though; there are many people on this expedition that help her learn to be “Sophie la Fuerta” and love life. Being so young, Sophie has much to learn from the people who care about her wellbeing. Sophie learns to be friends with her fears and that is how she overcomes them. Towards the beginning of the book Sophie’s parents help out illegal immigrants cross the border by letting them camp in the backyard overnight. This is also related to how Pablo got brought to their family because he was found with Sophie’s fathers ID card when crossing the border.
While Pablo enters Sophie’s life she notices that her problems are not nearly as significant as Pablo’s. Sophie has a mother and a step-father that she can always talk to and support her, now Pablo had to watch his parents die in the hot desert along with many others. This is when Sophie is starting to realize less about herself and more of someone else. Also, when they all take Pablo back home Sophie meets a lot of new people but she is still slightly shy. One of the most interesting things happens to Sophie by Pablo’s “Abuelita” that cures Sophie of her problems the most.
After the curing process was over Sophie feels lighter and feels better inside and out. Then, while Sophie is in Guatemala saving Angel a nurse at the hospital gives Sophie advice on life that she was once told as a young girl. Sophie is interested, “Death is at your side from the time your born, m’hija. You need to be friends with Death. That’s what makes you love Life. And when it’s your time to go, you won’t be scared. Because, m’hija, Death is your friend” (233). Sophie learns to not be scared or afraid of Death because the difference between life and death could be in the blink of an eye.
Now, that she has more confidence and less to think about she focuses her attention toward Angel. So Sophie goes to the well-known old lady of Pablo’s village named Nola. Nola had once lost the love of her life because she let him go and wasn’t going to let Sophie make that mistake. Sophie lies down next to Nola and they got to talking and giggling, “Then she said the same phrase she’d said while handing me the Queen of Night flower. ‘Cuaa nanducuve’” (170). Sophie could not get this saying out of her head, “Go find him. ” Sophie thinks about this long and hard until she makes the decision to go find him.
Even though Sophie is more mature and has confidence in herself that doesn’t defeat the fact that it’s audacious. Sophie goes to save Angel from this accident because she’s crazy about him. Sophie never talks to any of the “cool guys” from school until her trip with Angel. When Sophie notices the cool guys (gold chains, big trucks, and sexy girlfriends) from school she doesn’t ever think she will fit in with them. Even though Sophie is a pretty girl, she usually wears sweatshirts to cover up. Consequently, that is a problem for Sophie because she does not have many friends in high school.
Although Angel and Sophie have one class together, wood shop, they’ve never talked. Angel isn’t in class much because he works on his piece in a larger shop. Therefore, Sophie rarely sees him but remembers him when Mr. Lorenzo brings him along for the trip to Pablo’s village. Eventually, everyone packs up and jumps in the van to head to Pablo’s village. Angel just looks out the window for some time before he decides to join Sophie and Pablo in the back. They shared stories and made jokes when Pablo and Angel really started to hit it off.
Naturally, Pablo finally broke a smile and a bizarre laugh came out! This makes Sophie fall for Angel even more, and when they get to Pablo’s village they’re almost comfortable enough to be dating it seems. Angel loves flirting with her and she likes the attention, so she flirts back. Next, with Angel in Guatemala Sophie feels very lonely and doesn’t want to let him go for good, which means she is going to get him. On the way to Guatemala Sophie meets a boy named Rodrigo that won’t stop asking her questions. When Sophie tells him she’s going to see Angel, he pipes in, “Angel.
He joo boyfrien’? Inside part of me shouted yes! ” (139). this shows that Sophie really enjoys Angel and hers relationship. Then, Sophie asks him questions about getting to Guatemala to see Angel. Sophie is very dedicated to see him and will not be giving up. Going to help Angel forces her to step out of her comfort zone because she cares that much about him after one week. Even though Sophie is not sure that he will come back or if they are really dating, but that doesn’t stop her. Finally, when Sophie and Angel reunite with one another he is delighted to see her!
After Mr. Lorenzo got money to pay for the hospital expenses and everything is situated, Sophie and Angel are off to find the jewels. Sophie is very comfortable with Angel at this point and before she dives into the river to find the jewels, she completely strips and Angel watches her dive in. This really shows how much Sophie likes Angel. Once they are done finding the jewels they walk through the forest into an open area and lie down under the moonlight and stars when “I felt him staring at me I dared to turn my face toward his.
I wiped the tears from his face, and then, very easily, our faces moved together and we tasted the salt on each other’s cheeks, each other’s lips” (150). As Angel and Sophie walk back to the others they don’t leave each other for the night and wake up early for the journey back to Pablo’s village. Now that they have fallen in love they can determine they’re future together. As readers have now learned, Sophie is the most intriguing character and also undergoes the most change in confidence levels, becoming more mature, and falling in love with Angel throughout Laura Resau’s book.
Sophie has now introduced herself to be Sophie la Fuerta(the strong) through observing and taking in what she’s really made of and is capable to love Life. Relentlessly Sophie is able to be herself around people now and converse with strangers. Sophie has gotten stronger and more mature from the lessons she’s learned from her elders. She also learns that she has to fight for what she loves and not give up. During the trip she transforms from being an “Amoeba” to part of the “organism” with Angel. In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away.