As long as I could remember, I've always had this fascination with the mind of a serial killer or more aptly, the mind of a sociopath. Is it (human) nature or is it the environment (nurture) in which the killer was raised? I actually remember learning about nature v. nurture theory in a biology class in school and being captivated. I recall wondering at the time if this was the explanation for why Charles Manson had done what he had done.
I close my eyes and I can see myself begging my father to get me a copy of "Helter Skelter." Is it weird that the memory brings a smile to my face?
In this story, Jesus and Cruzita Rosario, are immigrants from Puerto Rico in New York City in the early 1960's. Dreaming of the American dream, they left their homeland because they wanted to have a family where anything was possible. They wholeheartedly believed any child of theirs raised in the mainland would have the same opportunities as any native born child in the US of A. But their conflict remained in trying to integrate their "old world" culture with the one they found themselves in. And this is what plants the seed for Adina's sociopathic behavior.
Jesus Rosario is a mild mannered man who simply just wanted to provide a nice life for his wife and daughter. He loved them both deeply and because of his love for them, he is somewhat of a milquetoast to his passive/aggressive wife. He would do anything for either one but it is his wife who would win out if he had to make a choice.
In the beginning, his wife Cruzita is meek and subservient, due in part to her old world upbringing and her belief in the old wives tales she heard while growing up. Specifically, she believed that a man was not truly a man unless he had a son who would carry on his name.
In her twisted thinking, Cruzita also feared ending up alone. Because she is a bit older, she has a difficult pregnancy, and there is a risk she will not be able to carry a child to term. She thinks that if she can't carry a child to term, Jesus would leave her. In addition, when to her surprise she got past the first two trimesters, she worried constantly that Jesus could still leave her if she did not bear him a son. What she can't grasp is that Jesus doesn't care one way or the other. All he wants is a healthy baby. However, no matter how many times he says this to Cruzita, she still worries and when she gives birth to a girl they name Adina, she worries even more.
Once Cruzita is home with her husband and newborn daughter, she becomes more confident in her position in the marriage thanks to Jesus constantly reassuring her. Ultimately, she becomes more and more assertive over the years.
Obsessed with appearances, she is a watchdog over Adina's life and the more domineering and controlling she becomes when it comes to her daughter, the more spineless Jesus appears to be. He never once objects to his wife's machinations, unless he thinks his beloved Cruzita is being disrespected or attacked. This becomes clear when Adina is in her mid-teens and they have to deal with a crisis as a family.
When you look at the the behavior of these characters, you can see the parallels of their respective psychologies.
Let's take a look at Adina's parents, Cruzita and Jesus.
Cruzita is driven by her sense of pride. She feels she has failed in her duty to provide Jesus with a son, and considers herself "not a real woman" because a "real woman" would present her man with a son thereby making him a "real man." For this reason she must then direct her energies elsewhere and show the world she is a real woman and she does this by making sure that everyone knows she can have a perfect life. Everything at home appears perfect to the outside world giving her a feel of superiority over those in her environment (friends/neighbors). This means guarding her daughter's virtue in particular ... like a hawk, for Adina must remain a virgin until her wedding night. As far as Cruzita is concerned, the only way to do that is to make sure she is raised with old world values.
The one thing that Cruzita overlooks is the sexual revolution. Sex is a big taboo in her mind and she must prevent anything untoward from happening at all costs.
Jesus, on the other hand just doesn't have the ability to take a stand. However, on the night of the confrontation, Cruzita turns on the waterworks in order to manipulate the situation and turn it all around to benefit her as she must keep up appearances to the world. It is then, and only then, when Adina is a teenager, that Jesus finds the strength to stand in unity with his wife who later takes matters into her own hands.
As a result of this confrontation, something happens that causes Adina's psychosis. Her sociopathic tendencies flare and the reader is a witness to this evolution.
Adina becomes concerned only with situations she can manipulate. Doing this gives her a sense of control in her life, until such time that she begins to yearn for a lifestyle that is more conventional. When she decides that she will take steps to be more like normal people, tragedy strikes.
So, my question is this:
Does Adina become sociopathic because there is something innate within her that makes her who she is? If so, can she be blamed for it? Or, does she become a sociopath because of this major event which occurred in her teen years and causes a switch in her?
Next up: Parent Profiles II: Margaret Brown Preston and Pastor James Ezekiel Preston.