Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, Massachusetts

EmilySt.John Mandel

Emilia Favorito 

U.S. and Cuban Relations: Operation Mongoose

Searching for the Truth of One's Identity in Emily St. John Mandelís Novels

Emily St. John Mandelís novels illustrate her charactersí determination to discover who they really are by finding out the truth within their lives. These novels explore individuals who find themselves at a crossroads; they can either pursue the truth or attempt to escape from it by denying who they really are. The protagonists each go through a series of challenges that force them to change who they really are. As the protagonists of Mandelís novels face challenges, they begin to change who they are and in that moment have the desire to escape from who and where they are, to a whole new world. In the novel The Lola Quartet, the protagonist, Gavin Sasaki finds out that he has a ten year old daughter and is determined to find her. His life begins to go downhill as he loses his job and apartment, and faces conflicts with friends and family as he is attempts to find his daughter and the mother of his child. Gavin is one example of a character in Mandelís works who is determined to change his life and discover more about his place in the world.

Just as Mandelís characters experienced changes in their lives, the Cuban citizens had to change their way of life when Fidel Castro came to power. This showed how he could use his power to control his country. Castro became Prime Minister of Cuba in 1959 by overthrowing authoritative Dictator Fulgencio Batista. Under Castro, the U.S and Cuba disagreed about government policies. The Cubans who fled to America in 1961 wanted to escape from living under the communist rule of Fidel Castro. The United States wanted to change the lives of Cuban citizens, both the exiles and the ones still in Cuba. They proposed a new secret plan called Operation Mongoose; a well-organized operation with the motive of killing Fidel Castro. The United States used their determination to attempt to destroy Fidel Castro by various violent plans, such as poisoning his cigars or drinks with botulism toxins and attacking him with explosives, all part of Operation Mongoose.

Major Works Consulted:

Mandel, Emily St. John. The Lola Quartet. Cave Creek, AZ: Unbridled, 2012.
---. The Singer's Gun.Lakewood, Colorado:Unbridled, 2010.
"People & Events: Operation Mongoose: The Covert Operation to Remove Castro from Power." PBS. 31 Jan. 2016.
White, Mark J. The Kennedys and Cuba: The Declassified Documentary History. Chicago: I.R. Dee, 1999.
Photo Credit: "Emily St. John Mandel: Bio." Emily St. John Mandel: Bio. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.