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The message the mother is trying to send to the daughter is quite clear; do not have premarital sex and do not bring shame to your family. The mother states that “Now that you have started to menstruate, what happened to her could happen” so know that the daughter can bear children she can get pregnant like her aunt did. So, she is not to have sex before she is married. Her mother fears that if she has sex outside of marriage she will become pregnant with an illegitimate child. The mother also wants to protect the daughter from others who feel that the child is a “bad thing”.
This the daughters’ pregnancy and the child will do nothing but bring shame. Shame is what I believe to be the second message that the mother is trying to tell. Shame will have horrible effects on the family. She sights this as one of the reasons for the family moving to California. The mother also states that because the baby brought such shame the tight-knit community that they lived in killed all of their live-stock, threw mud at their house, broke into their house, spread the animal blood on the walls and just trashing the family home. This is a result of the aunts’ actions so; the daughter should not get pregnant of do anything else to bring similar problems on the family.
The daughter states that she had a hard time trying to make since of the story. The daughter/writer seems to immediately understand the message the mother is trying to tell to not bring shame or have premarital sex but has a harder time trying to make since of the underlying message as she sees it. The writer believes that the true message in the story is that the real punishment for the aunts’ actions is that she was being deliberately forgotten by her family and aunt talked about, the people that are supposed to love each other despite flaws and despite their actions. The writer does not believe that someone so alike to her should have to be punished by her family even after death. So, she does not follow through on her mother demand to “not tell anyone”. In doing what she did she stopped the punishment from perpetuating and has in a way freed her aunt. From this she learns that the place her parents were from are not very forgiving and this has made her parents the people they are today.
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