Revelation and Rebirth in Helena Viramonte's The Moths Essay

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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. The relationship between the moths and the main characters aids in conveying the main theme of the story, which is not simply the death of a loved one, but a spiritual and maturing experience
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Before Abuelita dies the author uses the sun to describe rebirths: "There comes a time when the sun is defiant . . . a second when the sun is finally defeated, finally sinks into the realization that it cannot with all its power to heal or burn exist forever . . . although endings are inevitable, they are necessary for rebirths" (1241). This description is very precise in the sense of rebirths because the sun "dies" and then is "reborn" every morning. The quote "and when that time came [sunset], just when I switched on the light . . . was probably then that she died" (1241) refers back to the spiritual aspect of the light being heaven, and this is when the doors of heaven first open for Abuelita. Abuelita?s rebirth is of spiritual nature and is started when the moths carry her soul through the doors of heaven.

Through the spiritual rebirth of the grandmother, the grandchild experiences a spiritual and personal rebirth of her own. It is the death of her grandmother which helps her mature or see the light. Evidence of the grandchild maturing is seen in the contrast between the beginning when she remarks, "I wasn?t respectful either I even went so far as to doubt the power of Abuelita?s slices" (1239) and her respectful behavior at the end. The regret she feels for the way she acted becomes apparent in the end when she is toweling her grandmother?s body. Notable evidence of the grandchild?s change in attitude is

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