The Moths By Helena Maria Viramontes Essay

The Moths By Helena Maria Viramontes Essay

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The short story “The Moths,” written by Helena Maria Viramontes, tells a story between a granddaughter and a grandmother who both share a symbolic connection between each other. The story is in a first person narrative, told by the author, and her experience taking care of her ill grandmother while facing gender and religious oppression in her own home. The author is very distant from her own family mainly because she does not meet the expectations that her parents have embedded for her. There is a motif of rebirth throughout the story told by the author by symbolizing the significance of the gray moths. The vivid imagery of moths in Helena Maria Viramontes’ short story “The Moths” symbolizes the connection between life and death.
The author faces both gender and religious oppression in her home. At first, the author seems like she was a young and immature child, getting an occasional whipping every so often, that she is “used to.” This was partly due to the fact that the author did not act like what a girl should. The author states that she was not “even pretty or nice like [her] older sisters,” or “do the girl things that they could do.” This was evident in the scene where the author was mad at her sisters for calling her “Bull Hands,” so she bashed them with a sock filled with pieces of “jagged bricks” (Viramontes 32). This was considered how a girl should not act in front of their older sisters, and soon enough, she got a whipping by her mother. In the house, the father expected all of his daughters to understand the importance of catechism, a set of principles that abide by Christianity , and attend mass every sunday. The author’s lack of interest to attend mass every sunday leads the father to constantly complain to the aut...


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...The moths left her grandmother’s body as if they were taking away her spirit to another realm. The author talks about the sun and how it falls down every night to reappear for the next day. In this time, her grandmother had passed away, and in this moment of realization, she notices that “endings are inevitable,” and that they are “necessary for rebirths” (Viramontes 36). Just like the reincarnation of the sun, her grandmother has reincarnated into a moth and will move on to the light.
Throughout the story, there are recurring motifs of rebirth present in the moths. The moths symbolizes the the spirit that the grandmother has passed on. The grandmother someway represents a moth that watches over the author. In the end, the author realizes that her grandmother has been through so much, dealing with cancer, and she is finally being able to be relieved with the trauma.

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The Moths By Helena Maria Viramontes Essay

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