Study Guide

The Moths Mortality

By Helena Maria Viramontes

Mortality

Spoiler alert: Abuelita dies. In fact, it's kind of the whole point of "The Moths." The narrator protagonist must deal with her grandmother's death—like, literally. She's the one who takes care of the body after Abuelita checks out, and this act is like a rebirth for the narrator. She grows up, and at the same time, wishes she could return to her mother's womb and be a baby again. Death and life are hard to separate in this story, and when Abuelita dies, in many ways the narrator is reborn.

Questions About Mortality

  1. Why does Abuelita ask for the narrator to help her when she's dying? Back your answer up with evidence from the text.
  2. Why does the narrator take her dead grandmother into the bathtub with her?
  3. What is the relationship between the moths and death? To jumpstart your thinking, swing by the "Symbols" section.
  4. How does the doctor know that Abuelita will die soon?

Chew on This

Death and life are inseparable in "The Moths."

"The Moths" shows that there is no such thing as death—there is actually only rebirth.

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