Study Guide

The Moths Chapter 1

By Helena Maria Viramontes

Chapter 1

  • When she is fourteen years old, the narrator's grandmother, Abuelita (which means granny in Spanish), asks her to come help her.
  • The narrator's mother, whom she calls Amá (which means love), tells her that Abuelita is dying, and that's why she needs her help. After the girl cares for her grandmother and puts her to bed, she goes to the market.
  • The girl detours to the chapel, then goes to Jay's market to buy alcohol, chicken broth, and Pine Sol.
  • When she gets back to her grandmother's house, Amá is there and crying. The narrator tells her mother that Abuelita fell out of her bed twice the day before, which really upsets Amá.
  • The narrator goes outside and falls asleep on the porch swing.
  • She wakes up as the sun is setting and opens a can of soup for her grandmother, but Abuelita has died.
  • The narrator cleans up the bedroom and her grandmother's body, and then she fills up the bathtub.
  • Naked, the narrator carries her grandmother to the bathroom and both of them sink into the water.
  • Small, gray moths begin to come out of Abuelita's mouth—from her soul, according to the narrator—and fill up the bathroom.
  • The narrator cries until she can't anymore, then she rocks Abuelita in the tub.

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