A Summary OfThe Moths

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Do you remember the last time you took a bath? A bath filled with bubbles, perhaps with a younger sibling? What about the last time you stood in a bath, holding your dead grandmother, naked as moths came out of her mouth? In the short story “The Moths”, by Helena Maria Viramontes, a young Latina misfit granddaughter matures the moment her grandmother dies. Compared to her relationship with her parents and her siblings, the bond she carried with her Abuelita was special. She found comfort with her after receiving several whippings, broken her arm, puberty and even her first lie. (1) She would gladly help her out with her gardening or cooking, although they hardly spoke, or hardly looked at each other as they worked. Although she was rebellious and callous, human experience is conveyed through magical realism, exemplifying the narrator’s vulnerability towards her grandmother. The moths first made an appearance as healing method for the narrator's ‘bull hands’, her Abuelita made a “balm out of dried moth wings and Vicks and rubbed [her] hands, shaped them back to size and it was the strangest feeling” (3). Immediately the moths are associated with healing. The dead moth wings are used to heal the wellbeing of the narrator. Later, the moths are part of the grandmother’s death, as “small, gray ones that came from her soul and out through her mouth flutter[ed] to light” (16). At the beginning of the story the moths appeared as resources to heal the narrator, now they are shown
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