"Miss Clairol" and Other Short Stories Quotes


“But this was a different kind of help, Amá said, because Abuelita was dying.”

Helena Maria Viramontes, The Moths

These lines are said by the narrator of the story, The Moths. When her mother (Amá) told her that her grandmother (Abuelita) had called the narrator for help, she perceived Abuelita had called her for help in her garden as she used to do but her Ama told her that Abuelita was sick and needed her help on her death-bed this time.

“...there comes an illumination where the sun and earth meet, a final burst of burning red orange fury reminding us that although endings are inevitable, they are necessary for rebirths...”

Narrator, The Moths

The narrator produces a relationship between the cycle of sun and human life. The way a sun has to go down to appear next day for a rebirth; in the same way, humans have to die in order to take a new birth. Endings are essential for beginnings.

“She was not as heavy as I thought and when I carried her in my arms, her body fell into a V, and yet my legs were tired, shaky, and I felt as if the distance between the bedroom and bathroom was miles and years away. Amá, where are you?”

Narrator, The Moths

After the death of Abuelita, when the narrator picked her up in her arms like an infant, she was not as heavy as she thought she would be. The cancer had weakened Abuelita. Somehow, narrator’s leg were trembling and felt tired. It was not the weight of Abuelita but the burden of responsibilities, of Abuelita’s death. The distance between bathroom and bedroom seemed to be of miles, and throughout, the narrator wished her mother was there with her.

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