Macaria's Daughter

1649 Words 7 Pages
Macaria’s Daughter, by Americo Paredes, is a murderous tale of male dominance and female virtue where there is a sacrifice between an altar of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the marriage bed of two distinct cultures. This story is set in south Texas and surprises the reader with the murder of a beautiful young woman named Marcela. She is found in the bedroom, lying on the floor in a pool of blood, 30 to 40 knife stabs decorate her breasts, while the local men gaze indifferently on her lifeless body. Her husband, Tony, who is at the scene, hands over the knife to the local authorities, the Texan police, who are dressed in tall, spiffy Stetson hats.
We find out that Marcela and her little brother were raised in poverty by a Mexican woman named
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Macaria, sick and tired of trying to keep her daughter’s purity intact, marries off her daughter to Tony, a strong and hardworking, albeit ugly Mexican from the barrio. In the past, Tony chivalrously walked Marcela home from school each week, while Macaria parentally beat her daughter on every occasion.
In a change of heart, Macaria, who mistrusts all men, asks Tony if she loves Marcela and when he says yes, offers her daughter’s hand in marriage to Tony. His love and devotion to Marcela contains compassion but is also ruled and dominated by society’s jealous demands of machismos and the protection of female virtue. Tony loves Marcela, but is never sure of her love for him. He thinks his own ugliness prevents her from loving him in return. He suggests to Marcela that perhaps they consider a divorce.
Macaria relinquishes her role as a monstrous mother, beating her daughter into feministic submission. She enlists Tony‘s compliance to Mexican machismo to safeguard Marcela’s feminine virtue and supposed “goodness.” Tony exerts control over Marcela through the continued threat of domestic violence. Initially modernity defines Tony’s relationship with his wife, Marcela Polk, and he does not beat his wife as Macaria wishes, but showers her with cheap gifts as his paltry pay provides.
In time, Marcela meets a man while Tony is working; she is that starved for companionship. She
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