Helena Maria Viramontes’ The Moths Essay

Helena Maria Viramontes’ The Moths Essay

Length: 1672 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Helena Maria Viramontes’ “The Moths”


I was initially drawn to Helena Maria Viramontes’ story “The Moths” due to the striking similarities between the narrator’s experience and my own
experience with being thrust into the role of caretaker for a dying loved
one. By tracking a young girl’s transformation through dealings with
subjugation (by her culture), freedom (through her grandmother), death (of
her grandmother) and grief, Viramontes successfully paints an endearing tale of change. “The Moths” emphasizes the narrator’s oppression by her
household’s religion and by the social structures associated with it,
juxtaposed by the freedom for development available within the native
curandera custom taught by her grandmother.

Through vivid yet subtle symbols, the author weaves a complex web with which to showcase the narrator's oppressive upbringing. Two literary
critics whose methods/theories allow us to better comprehend Viramontes
message are Jonathan Culler and Stephen Greenblatt. Culler points out that we read literature differently than we read anything else. According to the intertextual theory of how people read literature, readers make assumptions (based on details) that they would not make in real life.

During these leaps within which we transform facts into values/themes, the
reader creates “supplementary meaning” to the text by unconsciously setting up tension, also called binary opposition. Culler describes this process in his statement “The process of thematic interpretation requires us to move from facts towards values, so we can develop each thematic complex, retaining the opposition between them” (294). Though supplementary meaning created within the text can take many forms, within V...


... middle of paper ...


...eedom was found and cultural boundaries were not shattered, simply battered, the narrator’s path was much preferable to that of her sisters (those who conformed to cultural boundaries). Through this story we can see how oppression in certain cultures changes individuals differently, creates tension between those who do not wish to be subjugated and those doing the subjugating, and we see the integral opposition between the path of Catholicism and that of curandismo.

WORKS CITED:

Contexts for Criticism. Ed. Donald Keesey. New York: McGraw Hill, 2003.

________________. Jonathan Culler. “Structuralism and Literature.
288-297

________________. Stephen Greenblatt. “Culture.” 436-441

The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Ed. Cassel & Bausch. New York:
W.W. Norton and Company, 2000. Helena Maria Viramontes. “The
Moth’s” 870-874

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Moths By Helena Maria Viramontes Essay

- 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....   [tags: Family, Short story, Mother]

Powerful Essays
1130 words (3.2 pages)

Helena Maria Veramontes' The Moths Essay

- 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....   [tags: short story analysis]

Powerful Essays
967 words (2.8 pages)

Revelation and Rebirth in Helena Viramonte's The Moths Essay

- Revelation and Rebirth in Helena Viramonte's The Moths     The famous phrase "looks may be deceiving" strongly pertains to Helena Viramontes's short story, "The Moths." The story, instead of focusing the creatures in the title, is actually about a young girl who comes of age as she is faced with the deterioration and death of her grandmother. Even though the title, "The Moths," seems to have no relevance at the beginning, these creatures help to portray a sense of spirituality, rebirth, and become, finally, an incarnation of the grandmother....   [tags: Helena Viramontes The Moths Essays]

Powerful Essays
997 words (2.8 pages)

Helena Viramontes' Miss Clairol Essay

- Helena Viramontes' short story, "Miss Clairol," takes the reader through a day in the life of Arlene, a single Hispanic mother, and her daughter, Champ. They begin their day at K-Mart in search for just the right beauty products for Arlene because she is going on a date that evening. After leaving without paying, they spend the day at home. Arlene prepares for the date while Champ assists her, watches television, and fixes herself dinner. Once Arlene is sufficiently fixed, she leaves for the date, ignoring Champ as she yells goodbye....   [tags: short story, Miss Clairol]

Powerful Essays
1625 words (4.6 pages)

Immigrant Tragedy in The Cariboo Café by Viramontes Essay

- Immigrant Tragedy in The Cariboo Café by Viramontes Helena Maria Viramontes grew up in Los Angeles where relatives used to stay and live with her family when making the transition from Mexico to the United States. This is where she got her first taste of the lives of immigrants in this country within the urban barrios. Viramontes's writing reflects this theme along with expressing her political opinions on the treatments of immigrants, especially Chicanos and Latinos. In her short story "The Cariboo Café," Viramontes brings these ideas to life through three sections narrated by different individuals tied into the story....   [tags: Immigration Immigrants]

Free Essays
1479 words (4.2 pages)

Maria Montessori : A Pioneer For Helping Women And Children Essay

- Maria Montessori a pioneer for helping women and children. Whether it being medically or educational wise, Maria devoted and dedicated her life to helping teachers in Europe then around the world understand why it’s it key to learning and studying early childhood development. Maria broke down gender barriers and advocated for disabled children when others wouldn’t, this is why Maria Montessori is an inspiring legend to millions of women and children. For the Children: Maria Montessori the Miracle Maria Montessori was born on August 31st, 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy to a Ministry of Finance worker and to the great nice of the Italian Geologist and Theorist Antonio Stoppani....   [tags: Montessori method, Maria Montessori, Pedagogy]

Powerful Essays
804 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Maria Montessori: From Marginal to Mainstream

- Maria Montessori: From Marginal to Mainstream Biographical Background When I was at school we had a teacher whose fixed idea was to make us learn the lives of famous women, in order to incite us to imitate them. The exhortation which accompanied the narration was always the same: "You too should try to become famous. Would you not like to become famous?" "Oh no,' I replied drily one day, "I shall never be that. I care to much for the children of the future to add yet another biography to the list." --Maria Montessori Maria Montessori was born in the town of Chiravalle in the province of Ancona August 31, 1870, the same year Italy became a unified Nation....   [tags: People Maria Montessori Papers]

Powerful Essays
1669 words (4.8 pages)

Essay on Use of Opinions, Voices, and Actions in Maria Concepcion

- Use of Opinions, Voices, and Actions in Maria Concepcion "María Concepción did not weep when Juan left her; and when the baby was born, and died within four days, she did not weep" (Porter 144). Katherine Anne Porter's used various writing techniques to develop María Concepción as a round and dynamic character. These methods included the discussion of María's actions, her speech, and by telling what other characters think about María. As a round character María Concepción expressed contradictory attitudes, and diverse personality traits....   [tags: Maria Concepcion Essays]

Powerful Essays
755 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Maria Martinez and Her Pueblo Pottery

- Maria Martinez and Her Pueblo Pottery One of the most well known figures of the twentieth century pottery world is Maria Martinez. Maria Martinez is a Pueblo Indian part of the San Ildefondo tribe. Pueblo pottery from the American Southwest holds a unique place in ceramic art forms of American art. It is full of age-old tradition and culture handed down form family members and potters of the past. The old Pueblo ways of creating it still hold true today and have not been changed or influenced like so many other styles in modern times....   [tags: Maria Martinez Pottery Pueblo Indian Essays]

Powerful Essays
1496 words (4.3 pages)

Hope Leslie by Catharine Maria Sedgwick Essay

- Hope Leslie by Catharine Maria Sedgwick American Puritans in the 17th century were known for their fervor for personal godliness and doctrinal correctness. In addition to believing in the absolute sovereignty of God, the total depravity of man, and the complete dependence of human beings on divine grace for salvation, they stressed the importance of personal religious experience. In her novel Hope Leslie, Catharine Maria Sedgwick critiques the idea of Puritanism and shows its deficiencies through the characters of Everell Fletcher, Hope Leslie, and Magawisca....   [tags: Hope Leslie Catharine maria Sedgwick Essays]

Powerful Essays
1566 words (4.5 pages)