Literary Arts Magazine Spring 2019 - Page 36

Is Mamacita a Bad Mother? I n Vocabulary Class, we read a short story by Sandra Cisneros called No Speak English. It comes from the novel by Cisneros called The House on Mango Street, which is in the library. I wrote this essay in response to the question: “Is Mamacita a Good Mother or a Bad Mother?” The story is about a woman (Mamacita) and her baby boy who emigrate from Mexico to the United States. She begins by showing dysfunctional conduct, which makes us question whether she is a good mother or not. Per- sonally, I could identify with this character and think other immigrants will too, since we have all, at some point, felt like Mamacita. On one hand, we feel driven to get ahead; on the other hand, we feel over- whelmed by internal conflicts that push us down and make us feel “bad” about ourselves. We cannot say that Mamacita is a bad mother based purely on the fact that she doesn’t al- low her baby boy to speak in English. This is only an isolat- Johana Granados ed fact that cannot be used to identity her as a bad mother. It’s also clear that she misses her country and has not been able yet to accept the idea that now she, her baby, and ev- erything that represents home for her have already changed. What we can say, however, is that this is a very bad situ- ation for her to face, and that she is going through a very difficult time in life. Besides, we can say that this is merely about what she does here and how her behavior and manners have been affected by this sit- uation. Her actions and experi- ences here do not change who she actually is in essence, as a person, as a woman, or even as a mother. So, who is Mamacita really? Well, Mamacita is a person who bravely made the decision to leave everything she knew in order to pursue a suppos- edly “better life” in a faraway country. Mamacita is a moth- er who boldly took her baby with her and jumped into the unknown, not knowing that it was going to be harder than 36 anything she had imagined. Mamacita is a woman mis- judged and labeled as a “bad mother,” when the real truth is that she desperately longs for her home. So, here is the thing: is it right to call “bad” to a woman just for getting sick? For Mamacita is simply that, a brave, bold, and good woman who is just sick. She is homesick; she is sick at heart. Her nagging nostal- gia has embittered her life and those around her. “¡Ay, caray!” [Not again!], her disgusted husband says. She must learn to deal with it since her child has already be- gun to talk, and it might seem like she could affect him with her problem by demanding, “no speak English, no speak English.” The more she per- sists in hanging on to memo- ries and refusing to let the past go, the harder it will be for her to overcome her illness. For the time being, she has one streak of hope, which is to return to Mexico. “¿Cuándo, cuán-