Helena Maria Veramontes' The Moths Essay

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Helena Maria Veramontes writes her short story “The Moths” from the first person point of view, placing her fourteen year old protagonist female character as a guide through the process of spiritual re-birth. The girl begins the story with a description of the debt she owes her Abuelita—the only adult who has treated her with kindness and respect. She describes her Apa (Father) and Ama (Mother), along with two sisters as if they live in the same household, yet are born from two different worlds. Her father is abusive, her mother chooses to stay in the background and her sisters evoke a kind of femininity that she does not possess. The girl is angry at her masculine differences and strikes out at her sisters physically. Apa tries to make …show more content…
This fear causes her to become emotionally detached from her family—stating several times that she never kisses them. The dynamic characteristics of the girl begin to show through her individuality as she reframes from being caught in a culture fraught with machismo and abuse. The girl develops further as she begins to take care of her Abuelita, allowing her grandmother to show her a different side of spirituality. When Abuelita dies the girl transforms into a woman of great character. She prepares her Abuelita alone, without her mother, stating: “I toweled her puzzled face, stretching out the wrinkles, removing the coils of her neck, toweled her shoulders and breast.” (Bausch) As she cleans her she uncovers scars on Abuelita’s back that she equates with her own. She brings her grandmother into a bathtub full of water and comes to the realization that she has been blessed with the joy of preparing her for her heavenly departure. She cries, relinquishing all of her misery and through these tears, she is reborn—just as Abuelita leaves on the wings of moths. The young girl develops insight from this moment which supports the theme of the story. She goes from human suffering on to experience immense spiritual growth. The central conflict of the story is external and internal. It is external in her family versus her as she faces being raised in a family

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