Helena Maria Veramontes' The Moths Essay

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 his daughter conform to his strict religious beliefs, which she refuses to do and her defiance evokes abuse. The girl’s Abuelita is dying and she immerses herself in caring for her, partly to repay a debt and partly out of the deep love she has for her. As her grandmother lay dying, she begins the process of letting go. The moth helps to portray a sense of spirituality, re-birth and becomes, finally, an incarnation of the grandmother. The theme of the story is spiritual growth is born from human suffering.
The fourteen-year-old girl is a round and dynamic character with great depth. The round characteristics are seen within her broad and complex emotions. She has developed an aggressive temperament in response to abuse from her Apa and teasing from her sisters who call her “bull hands”, laughing at her masculine features. This temperament has led her to state: ”I began keeping a piece of jagged brick in my sock to bash my sisters or anyone who called me bull hands.” (Bausch) Her temper...


... middle of paper ...


... light, we ascend towards a bright light in death. Magic realism is used to describe Abuelita’s rebirth as the moths carry her soul through the doors of heaven.
The theme of “The Moths” is produced mainly by the character, conflict, and language of the story. The characterization brings to life the initial turmoil as Abuelita begins to nurse the girl not only physical, but also mentally into embracing her own hidden emotions. The conflict furthers shows the painful experiences the girl experiences so that this spiritual awakening may occur. Language is used to describe this process, giving a glimpse into her life style and uses colorful to portray the girl’s awakening and Abuelita’s ascent to heaven.




Works Cited
Bausch, Richard & Cassill, R.V. "The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction". 7th. New York: Norton & Company, Inc., 2006. Book.

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