I think it goes without saying that we are lucky enough to grow up in a time of mutual respect among genders as well as equal rights. Although Kissses in Nederends uses humor to mask some of the tension between Oilei and Makarita I can honestly say that I was shocked while reading the book.
In our culture, we show respect and are at least civil with one another despite there being an underlying strain or disliking. We are raised to be polite in all situations. I personally was raised by mother’s words of “you do not hate anyone, you may dislike them or not get along with them, but you do not hate them and you are never to act as if you do”. From a young age we are taught that swearing is rude and unacceptable (or used to be) in the public sphere.
While reading Kisses in Nederends, I must admit I chuckled as I came across the conversations between Makarita and her neighbors, especially when she responded to the tap on her shoulder by saying “what the fucking... oh I’m sorry Pastor” (18). None the less, the relationships depicted within the book seem to be only surface deep. In regards to other books we have read where the families are so close and there is a sense of spirit and ancestry and a deep pride for the heritage. The characters in this particular book seem to be very cavalier.
At first, I thought Oilei and Makarita had a very unorthodox relationship, constantly bickering and picking on each other. I honestly felt a sense of embarrassment when Oilei would refer to his wife as an old hag and she would respond with an equally as witty insult. I then realized the consistent arguing and cursing were universal throughout the couples portrayed. In fact, the pastor is the only one who seems to have a respectable vocabulary and the only one who makes an effort to censor himself.. Along the lines of relationships, I also found it strange that there is no definitive line between mother and daughter, Makarita refers to her mother as Mere, her first name. In western cultures this is usually a sign of disrespect.
Throughout the town there is a hilarious dynamic. It is an over-emphasized depiction of Desperate Housewives; nosey neighbors, every one in each others business, striving to keep up appearances (Makarita’s stress over the town finding out her business and the real cause of Oilei’s pain). I tried to make a connection between the “closeness” of the neighborhood with everyone trying to help Oilei but could not get past the fact that they all just think either a. they have the best method for curing him, or b. they just want to know they neighborhood gossip. I clearly do not think there is a hate between any of the neighbors or family members, however, there seems to be a lack of respect amongst them.