Writing Assignment on
Helena Marķa Viramontes' "The Moths"

Note:  If you are going to print this off in one of the KSU public computer labs, you will first need to go into the File menu at the top of your browser, choose Page Setup and click on Black Type, to ensure that colored fonts in this document print out.

Write on one of the following topics:

Topic A.  Viramontes has declared (in "Why I Write," 1993) that "through writing I have learned to protect the soles of my feet from the broken glass....  Writing is the only way I know how to pray."  What is it about the story "The Moths" that might qualify it to be appreciated as a form of "prayer"?

Topic B.  Check what the glossary has to say about the genre of "magic realism."  What makes the conclusion of this story an instance of this genre?  How does the conclusion work as a conclusion?  That is:  what does it express, and how is that appropriate to the rest of the story?  What do the moths stand for?  Where have we in effect seen them at work earlier on?  What is expressed by what the speaker of the story does for her grandmother at the end?  How does this contribute to the speaker's "relief"?  (What did she need relief from?)

Topic C.  Ann Charters says that the story "dramatizes [Viramontes'] view of the patriarchal Chicano tradition that stifles women's lives."  If this description strikes you as getting at something at the heart of this story, explain how it does.

  Consult the Study Guide to this story before attempting this writing assignment.

  You may also wish to review the general instructions on writing assignments.

  Suggestions are welcome.  Please send your comments to lyman@ksu.edu .

      Contents copyright © 1999 by Lyman A. Baker

Permission is granted for non-commercial educational use; all other rights reserved.

  This page last updated 04 April 1999.