The Moths

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Rebirth Through the use of Symbolism and Characterization
In the short story “The Moths” by Helena Maria Viramontes, the author uses symbolism and characterization to paint the scene of a girl in a literary fiction that has lost her way and ends up finding herself within her Grandmother through the cycles of life. Through the eyes of an unnamed girl we relive a past that has both a traumatic ending and a new leash on life; however, we do not get there without first being shown the way, enter “The Moths”.

The author utilizes opposite ends of the light spectrum to signify beginnings and endings by painting a vivid picture for the reader: “There comes a time when the sun is defiant. Just about the time when moods change, inevitable seasons of a day, transitions from one color to another, that hour or minute or 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, 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, and when the time came, just when I switched on the light in the kitchen to open Abuelita’s soup, it was probably then that she died” (Viramontes 4). She explains to the reader why the sun causes different shades of red and orange throughout the day, the shades themselves represent a life span of different ages, which turn different colors with the coming seasons “of the day”, as opposed to the year, at the end of that day the sun dies and a new moon is born in place of that sun, and when a moon dies the sun is reborn the next day, and so goes the cycle of life. With this the narrator also states that “endings are inevitable” and so when we look at the Grandmother we already know that she will die because her end is, as the narrator says “inevitable”. The final line in the excerpt is perhaps the single most...
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