Though the diary is a grim telling of the desperate existence of the favelado,humor frequently appears as well. Humor leavens some of the darkest events and gives Carolina another point of perspective from which to comment on what she observes. In explaining why she thinks that marrying Manuel would be a mistake, Carolina wonders why a man would want to marry a woman who sleeps with a pen under her pillow. Carolina’s ability to poke fun at herself serves as a survival mechanism: by retaining a capacity to laugh at something, she can make it small enough to handle. Even in the midst of extremely grim circumstances, Carolina’s wry observations shed light on things we wouldn’t otherwise see. For example, she points out that women in the welfare office talk about their children’s fathers as horses or asses, and she threatens Manuel by saying she’ll begin acting like the other favela women in order to put him in line.
Carolina’s Threat to Put People in Her “Book”
Carolina’s constant threat to put those who do her wrong in her “book” defines her character throughout the diary. Carolina has appointed herself an arbiter of accountability, and people will have to answer for their indiscretions. Accountability is surely lacking in the favela, and Carolina thinks she can restore it through writing. With her threats, Carolina is also reminding those around her that she is a person to be reckoned with. Her assertion is ultimately born out by the facts: her threat is responsible for her publication, as reporter Audalio Dantas becomes curious about Carolina’s “book” when he overhears her threatening to write about people destroying a children’s playground.