Paige Kiehl, San Francisco State University


This essay explores the literary and cultural discourse around motherhood archetypes in Myriam Gurba’s How Some Abuelitas Keep Their Chicana Granddaughters Still While Painting Their Portraits in Winter and Laura Esquivel’s Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate). Within these two texts, I will investigate the way female characters reclaim and reconstruct traditional gender roles as they navigate male-dominant societies to create a hybrid space allowing for the shedding of imposed patriarchal roles that anchor a woman’s identity exclusively with her reproductive capabilities. Instead, explore their sexuality, reproductive choices, and sexual partners to create choices for women in establishing their own identities. In universalizing diverse depictions of motherhood, female writers and characters are given the chance of other possibilities outside of motherhood and “unbecoming” what society has expected and justified as female experience since birth. In the end, these hybridizations of traditional motherhood archetypes create more symbolic space for the imagery of good, bad, and unbecoming mothers.

Mexican and Chicana Female Archetypes: Loose Women and Lesbians Reinventing Depictions of Motherhood

The image of the mother has prevailed in literary and cultural discourse through the creations of myths and archetypes. The Mexican and Chicana motherhood archetypes—La Malinche/Virgin of Guadalupe/La Llorona—are transcultural and transhistorical figureheads. La Malinche regarded as the “first mother” of the mestizo (mixed-raced) people, and loathed for her role and apparent apathy in the destruction of the Aztec empire. The Virgin of Guadalupe regarded as the ultimate pinnacle of a self-sacrificing mother. La Llorona regarded as an unbecoming mother by killing her children in the river to hurt her cheating husband. Women throughout history have been judged and idealized based on these archetypes to describe them as a “good” or “bad” mother to easily ascribe to them attributes associated with both types of mothers, nurturing and self-sacrificing or apathetic and selfish. To maintain a patriarchal society, the concept of motherhood is used as a cultural tool to establish and reinforce pre-existing gender roles. The reclamation of the mother archetypes imposed on the female body creates an emancipation of the self. This is seen in Myriam Gurba’s How Some Abuelitas Keep Their Chicana Granddaughters Still While Painting Their Portraits in Winter (2015)and Laura Esquivel’s Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) (1989). Primarily set in 21st century United States and 20th century Mexico during the Mexican Revolution, both texts explore the battling identities the female characters embody as they navigate male-dominant societies. These texts create hybrid characters allowing for the female characters and authors to shed imposed patriarchal roles that anchor a woman’s identity exclusively with her reproductive capabilities, and instead, explore their sexuality, reproductive choices, and sexual partners, creating choices for women in establishing their own identity outside of traditional domesticity.

Good and Bad Mothers: The Virgin of Guadalupe and La Malinche

In Mexican history, the Guadalupe-Malinche paradigm has dominated over any other mother representation. La Malinche has become a representation of Eve, the first mother, due to the birth of her son, the first mestizo [mixed-raced] child, with the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés conceiving a new population. However, her position as a forced interpreter and mediator between the Aztecs and the Spanish and as the illegitimate wife of Cortés left her regarded as no better than a whore who betrayed her people—even though her own mother sold her into slavery (Morin 35). On the other hand, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Virgin Mary, is regarded as the immaculate and self-sacrificing mother and widely held in high-esteem throughout Mexico as a religious and cultural symbol because of her Marian apparitions and guidance for a peasant, Juan Diego. In both of these cases, the images constructed around these women are formed by the perception of men. Debora Castillo states the creation of “the Malinche archetype encodes what men ought to expect if they fail to control their women; the Virgen/soldadera archetype encodes an idealized womanhood of devoted suffering that few real women can match” (5). These archetypes are set in place to immobilize women from moving beyond the confines of these patriarchal gender roles. Castillo further argues these encoded motherhood roles are reinforced on a linguistic level reducing women to objects in association to the men rather than subjects of their own life:

Ultimately, the mother in this masculinist system is “nothing” precisely to the degree in which she is conceived of as pure and unprofaned. At the same time, the profaned female is also “nothing,” not even a woman, and certainly not la mujer [lady]. The ultimate insult—chinga tu madre [motherfucker]—substitutes one nothing for another, and is directed not at the woman but at what is supposedly a man’s most vulnerable spot, the institutionalized myth of motherhood, a myth in which the saintly mother exists only as the function by which the son takes cognizance of himself. (19)

Women are ultimately reduced to “nothing” because, even linguistically, their identity is that of a tool for male self-actualization. Mexican and Chicana women have begun to reclaim these archetypes, so that women are able to break from the fixed behaviors and commands brought on by a male-centric culture and engender an alternative possibility of motherhood outside of traditional domesticity and the Virgin of Guadalupe ideal.

            The Mexican Revolution of 1910-20 ushered in a new role for women not previously seen before with the inclusion of soldaderas[female soldiers]. During this period of unrest scholars estimate that “more than half of the women in Mexico were forced to turn to prostitution in order to survive” (Castillo 4). This increase in prostitution influenced the creation of soldaderas who were regarded as sexually free women, and most likely prostitutes, who joined the ranks of both armies. In Como agua para chocolate, Mamá Elena runs her ranch and her three daughters’ lives with a choking grip. Due to the repressive environment fostered by her mother’s control, the middle daughter, Gertrudis, runs off with a revolutionary general becoming a soldaderain the revolutionary army and spends time working in a brothel to escape from the demands of her mother and escape her forced domesticity. However, she restructures this archetype by becoming “generala del ejército revolucionario [general in the revolutionary army]” (Esquivel 180). Esquivel demonstrates Gertrudis’ prowess for the army in her description of Gertrudis’ time among the soldiers, “luchando como nadie en el campo de batalla. En la sangre traía el don de mando, así que en cuanto ingresó al ejército, rápidamente empezó a escalar puestos en el poder hasta alcanzar el mejor puesto” [“fighting like no one on the battlefield. Leadership was in her blood, and once she joined the army, she began a rapid ascent through powerful positions until she had reached the top”] (Esquivel 180). The soldaderais positioned to be self-sacrificing, an essential characteristic for a “good” mother, for the men in her life in and out of the domestic sphere. Not even the soldadera archetype is an exception to motherhood. This is seen in Gertrudis, now the general of over 50 men, bringing her soldiers to her maternal home to have them fed and looked after by the women in the family. With women stepping out of the domestic space and “renovating socio-cultural roles assigned to them…reflects a robust participation of women” (DePaoli 176) who were initially disconnected from the archetype of motherhood.

            In the present day, The United States is also an agent for creating space for new identities for motherhood. For example, much like the soldaderacreates a new family dynamic through her relationship with her male soldier counterparts, the LBGTQ+ community is establishing new family structures atypical of mainstream, heteronormative society. These alternative kin relationships reinvent the emotional and caretaking roles traditionally taken on by a biological mother-child relationship. This new dynamic is enhanced through key linguistic terms like “house,” “mother,” and “rear” to show maternal instincts of those typically excluded from the idea of motherhood (Driver 32). If these new creations of motherhood are going to be accepted as culturally valuable, the disconnect between lesbianism and motherhood needs to be bridged in order to transform mainstream culture. Gurba encounters this slow shift after she and her partner move into a suburb full of children and families. Her neighbor, Don Patricio, immediately confronts Gurba, the narrator:

“The woman you’re with,” said Don Patricio, “is she your mother?”

“No,” I answered, “She’s my partner. We’re a couple.”

“That’s okay,” he said. He grinned. (Gurba 124)

Later, Gurba finds snapshots of a biracial lesbian couple who had previously lived in the house who she declares as the “pioneers [who] had already accustomed Don Patricio to the lifestyle” (Gurba 124). As a lesbian, Gurba has had to continually try to fit her identity into a societal and generational framework that did not have the landscape available for this new depiction of womanhood and in turn her motherhood. Her reproductive capabilities as the major point of her identity is seen as early as 12-years-old with her Mexican grandfather.

“M’ija,” he said to me. “How many children do you want to have when you get married?” He smiled paternally. Mexican paternalism evokes the scent of chorizo.

“None,” I answered. “I am never getting married.”

It was the first and only time I saw Abuelito look astonished.

“Why?” he asked in a tone of voice people usually reserve for the question How did the accident happen?

“Because I am a feminist,” I answered. I was twelve years old.

Abuelito burst out laughing. He leaned over and petted me on the perm.

“Don’t think so hard, m’ija,” he said and left to his mistress, taking his chorizo scent with him. (Gurba 20)

Her abuelito’slanguage demonstrates the language of machismo[toxic masculinity] prevalent in Mexican culture and in her family’s household. Gurba distances herself throughout the conversation from this common viewpoint and abuelito’s own brand of “Mexican paternalism” by continuously stating her own ambitions for her life in contrast to her grandfather’s hopes. Likewise, she is aware the conversation is marked with the “chorizo,” or machismo, outlook that men should be the head of the household and earn money, while women stay in the domestic spheres of cooking and child rearing. The physical and psychological functions of heterosexual procreation is dominating in both American and Mexican cultures. Sexuality and motherhood need to be put into a dialogue with each other to create new brand of maternalism, and in turn, paternalism.

            As women entered male dominated spaces, they also began to take on characteristics typically associated with men—working outside of domestic circles and an increased exploration of sexual desire. The Mexican paternalism displayed by Gurba’s abuelito is also seen in Esquivel’s Mamá Elena as she takes on the role as the figurehead of the family. As a widow, Mamá Elena demonstrates both of these traits through her rigorous and harsh expectations of her daughters, especially of her youngest, Tita, by refusing to let her marry as she expected to carry out the family tradition of the youngest daughter taking care of the mother until she dies. Her tight control over the household parallels Gurba’s abuelito’s strict guidelines for his own daughters. When Gurba’s mother sat her abuelito down and told him she wanted to go to college to study chemistry, his response was, “No. Women get married, they go to the convent, or they become secretaries. I’ll pay for you to go to secretarial school but not university. That’s a waste of an education” (20). Both Mamá Elena and Abuelito make exceptions for their own rules through their secret affairs. Mamá Elena refuses to allow Tita to marry and acts as a repressive sexual force on her daughters because of her own embitterment about her family’s disapproval of her relationship with a mulatto man, José, and her being forced into a loveless marriage. Tita discovers this affair after the death of Mamá Elena by finding the correspondent letters between her and José:

Esta acción no logró impedir que aún estando casada siguiera manteniendo correspondencia secreta con José, y tal parecía que no se habían conformado solamente con este tipo de comunicación, pues según estas cartas, Gertrudis era hija de José y no de su padre” [“This action did not succeed in stopping her from keeping up a secret correspondence with José, even after she was married, it seemed that they had not limited themselves to that form of communication either, since according to the letters, Gertrudis was Jose’s child and not her [Tita’s] father’s”] (Esquivel 139)

Even though Mamá Elena was forced into a loveless marriage due to her family, she still retains her “masculine” traits by continuing her affair throughout her marriage. Abuelito also had illegitimate children out of his affair: after rejecting Gurba’s mother’s request to go to college, “he paid for his mistress’s daughters to go to university. Perhaps, his chorizo actually did evolve” (Gurba 20). This mistreatment by the “paternal” figures, Mamá Elena and Abuelito, in both texts alienates the “maternal” figures, Gurba’s mother and Tita, as other and oppresses them out of fear of not being able to control and maintain their power.  

The adoption of paternal traits by women, whether borrowed or forced, results in their male counterparts to try and remove their womanhood by disrupting the hierarchy. This is seen in the treatment of “loose women” who take the same prerogative as men to explore their sexual desire and partners. This is articulated in an anecdote from Pedro Martinez, a campesino [farmer], from Tepotzotlán, Morelos, Mexico on the treatment of “loose women” by their male sexual partners:

“According to the old people, these same men would get together and say, ‘Well, how is it that she is going with me and with you and with him? She is just causing trouble. Why should we fight and kill each other while she has a good time? So, now let’s do something to her.’ One of them would take her out and they would all get together and carry her off into the fields. And the things they would do to her! They drove a sharpened stake in the ground and greased it with a lot of lard. Then they all made use of her and had fun with her. They didn’t kill her first but stuck her onto the point and there she sat until she died. Then they would undo her braids and put a sombrero on her head and a red kerchief around her neck, like a man. They would put a cigar in her mouth and cross her shawl on her chest a way a vagabond does, to show that she tried to revel and make merry like a man (Lewis 1964, 56, 59)” (Castillo 1).

These outwards signs of masculinity—undoing of her braids, sombrero, kerchief, cigar, and shawl—denote her “unnatural unwomanliness” (Castillo). She is reduced to no more than an object to warn other women of their punishment if they should try to behave outside of cultural expectations. The figure of the sexualized woman, La Malinche or La Chingada [The Violated], is despised and reduced by men, denying them a “positive womanhood and vulgarly characterized as a hole into which men ejaculate: a nonrepoductive but infinitely reproducible verifier of masculinity” (Castillo 19). Furthermore, women who are sexually free are equally seen as “unnatural” and against the traditional depictions of womanhood established by male-dominated cultures. Mexican and Chicana women are reclaiming the sexualized and sexually free women through the reversal of gender roles and taking on the prerogative of men by working in the fields or having multiple sex partners without regards to how men may mark these women as no longer decent, but evil.

            The reclamation of La Malinche figure by Mexican and Chicana writers is depicted through Gurba and Gertrudis. Both step outside—whether by force of circumstance or choice—female cultural codings. Gurba, as the eldest daughter, helps her father maintain their lawn and the land surrounding her house. She ponders, “maybe lawn mowing turned me gay…I pushed it forward and right, forward and right, losing some hearing, losing my heterosexuality as grass bled on my sneakers…I shed any attraction I had to boys” (Gurba 57). This passage illustrates how her identity as a lesbian opens up a new hybrid space to allow for behaviors outside of those traditionally imposed. The male-dominant sphere gives her a sense of permission to explore her own attraction towards women just like that of the men in her life. This is seen in her reaction to how her sexually free and womanizing uncle decorates his room and bathroom as a shrine to the female body. Tío Miguel’s bathroom, “Treated you to muff. On the door across from his commode hung a life-size poster of a lady in see-through blouse splaying herself, Georgia O’Keeffing you as things shot out of your own flower. I minded all the pussy but, at the same, part of me welcomed it” (Gurba 24). The wording Gurba uses in her anecdote already shows her adaption of this traditional male domain into something female. Instead of reducing the women in the poster to a “loose woman” or sex object, she regards her as “a lady”—una dama—a title only reserved for the most pious of women. She continues by regarding her position as art by comparing it to Georgia O’Keeffe’s famous up-close flower painting theorized to represent a woman’s vulva. Her time occupying a patriarchal sphere of control solidifies her ability to conceive and enforce an identity that can include both lesbian desire and reproductive and familial relations later on in her life with her partner.

Additionally, Gertrudis creates her own hybrid character by her rise in the revolutionary army, but also in her stay at the brothel as she navigates these spaces. She writes to Tita about exploring her sexual desires after her sexual freedom by riding off with the revolutionary general, Juan: “Me dejó porque sus fuerzas se estaban agotando a mi lado, sin haber logrado aplacar mi fuego interior. Por fin ahora después de que infinidad de hombres han pasado por mí, siento un gran Alivio. Tal vez algún día regrese a casa y te lo pueda explicar.” [“He left because I had exhausted his strength, though he had not managed to quench the fire inside me. Now at last, after so many men have been with me, l feel a great relief. Perhaps someday I will return home and explain it to you”] (Esquivel 126). She writes with a candor typical of men when disclosing sexual relationships. Yet, she does not stop her in her development of this but shows in later chapters her joining of her female pleasure and possibility of motherhood: “Regresaba felizmente casada con Juan. Se habían encontrado después de haberse dejado de ver por más de un año y entre ellos había renacido la misma pasión que la del día en que se conocieron.” [She was coming back happily married to Juan. They had met after not seeing each other for more than a year and their passion had been reborn, just like the day they met”] (Esquivel 180). Though she is now married, which fills a traditional archetype of la soldaderabecoming tamed after getting over her rebellious phase, Gertrudis still has control over her own sexuality by continuing to have the same uninhibited sex she had before she and Juan married. Her ability to maintain her sexual pleasure while fulfilling a traditional role demonstrates the ability for women to keep their sexual bodies and strive for motherhood.

            The reclamation of the Guadalupe-Malinche binary is essential in creating a valid maternal identity for the female experience. Both mythologized images are degraded representations of mothers, but their mixing creates a doubleness that embraces that of fertility and healing as well as sexuality and desire. Yet this duality also brings out another double standard within society. The standard of sexual freedom between men and women because the “confirmation of men’s suspicion that decent women might indeed have an interest in sexuality” (Castillo 27) automatically disqualifies these “loose women” from being “good” mothers. This new maternal figure becomes a hostile other “because it combines the previously discussed male fears and anxieties surrounding the female transformation from innocent virgin to sexually initiated (and empowered) women to the pregnant body” (Santos 60). In general, the disconnect between women as mothers and as sexual beings reduces them to objects in both settings. As a mother, they are just there to produce an heir. As a sex partner, they are just there to produce an orgasm:

“¿Por qué se casa uno realmente? ¿Para tener orgasmos? No, señor. Uno se casa para formar una familia, para que su mujer sea la madre y formadora de los hijos. Una madre no tiene como misión el orgasmo…[C]on los hijos ya no puede ser. Hay respeto. Tiene que haber respeto (empleado, 44 años).”

[“Why does one get married, really? To have orgasms? No, sir. One marries to have a family, so that one’s wife can be the mother and shaper of children. A mother has no business with orgasm…with children, it is no longer possible. There is respect. There must be respect” (worker, forty-four years old)]” (Castillo 289).

Women are either placed into the category of mother or whore, and are not allow to occupy both spaces because of men’s fear that there will be a lack of “respect” from women that are able to have orgasms and raise children. This sentiment perfectly embodies the need for a reconstruction of the mother image and to rupture the hierarchy of roles placed upon woman from birth. There needs to be an allowance for other aspects besides maternity to populate and be valued in a woman’s life and identity.

Unbecoming Mothers: La Llorona

            In order for this change, social conditions need to change for people and attributes typically excluded from motherhood. The cultural commitment to deny and degrade the erotic body of women has even been internalized by women. This is seen in the creation of double personas and an evolution of La Malinche into La Llorona. From high-class women to sex workers to those without children, maternity is the most important aspect of their lives. The symbolism associated with birth and children gives meaning to their lives and work. For sex workers, “they see it as a way of ‘purifying their sins’…creating for themselves a double persona—the sinful sex worker and the decent mother—in which the sins of the first become the honorable sacrifices of the second” (Castillo 16). Here, we see the placement of motherhood as highly valued and prostitution as valueless. Even with the discussion on the selection as a sex worker by force of circumstance or personal choice in mind, any positive feelings these women feel about their work whether by being able to provide for their children—a self-sacrificing Guadalupe—or pleasure in their sexuality—a provocative Malinche—are always overshadowed by the mindset embedded in culture to dismiss the work of women outside a domestic sphere, where their minds and bodies can be more easily controlled.

            This splitting of the female body within the virgin/whore binary is part of the Christian process of the Spanish conquest. La Llorona is a cross-cultural figure even among societies who did not have contact with each other. This phenomenon takes root in the continuing story of La Malinche when Cortés decides to return to Spain to marry a Spanish ladyand takes his mestizo [mixed-raced] son with him. La Malinche feels even more betrayed by this due to her role in the massacre of the Aztecs, so she prays to her gods and is told that if her son goes with Cortés he will continue the massacre of her people. To prevent this from coming to fruition, she steals her child away into the night and takes him to a lake, now present-day Mexico City, and stabs him in the heart before dropping him into the water crying—transforming her into the first La Llorona and reworking a tale that goes back further in time (Santos). The same anxiety around producing a “monstrous” child is “constructed through this male dominant dialect that emphasizes a sense of shame and anxiety surrounding female reproduction as an embodiment of the prevailing cultural fears of the ‘bad seed’ that can be transferred to the child intra-utero” (Santos 69). La Llorona’s attempt to kill the “bad parts” of herself comes from this warped mentality. In the end, she committed suicide, unable to handle committing infanticide. The rejection of the connection between motherhood and sexuality results in deeming whether a mother is “good” or “bad” and automatically damning their children to the same label.

            In Como agua para chocolate, Tita has this same anxiety around her own potential pregnancy and child. Her anxiety and shame around her physical embodiment of her enjoyed sexual experience and her choice of sexual partner results in a confrontation of her mother’s ghost to manifest as this patriarchal shame:

¡Pero nada! ¡Lo que has hecho no tiene nombre! ¡Te has olvidado de lo que es la moral, el respeto, las buenas costumbres! No vales nada, eres una cualquiera que no se respeta ni a sí misma. ¡Has enlodado el nombre de toda mi familia, desde el de mis antepasados, hasta el de esa maldita criatura que guardas en las entrañas! [But nothing! What you have done has no name! Have you forgotten all morality, respect, and good behavior! You are worthless, someone who does not even respect herself. You have stained the name of my entire family, from my ancestors down to this cursed child in your stomach!] (Esquivel 173).

The language used by Mamá Elena to describe the unborn child creates a double meaning because the use of the word “criatura” can be translate to mean child or creature. Already positioning the child as a hybrid “other” along with Tita because the use of “guardar” placing her as a protector and guard over this “creature.” The association of Tita with being a “bad” mother because of her sexuality and actions is immediately transferred to her child. In the end, Tita is not pregnant and she becomes a llorona, losing the “bad parts” of herself like La Malinche.

            In Painting Their Portraits, Gurba associates herself with La Llorona because she has “killed” her own children by her lesbianism. This connection comes from her coming out to her teacher, and the teacher responding, “I am fine with you being a lesbian but I feel sad you might never have children…in order to completely be, to completely be a woman, you must experience motherhood” (Gurba 46). This classification of motherhood by her teacher takes the opposite stance of Mamá Elena by deciding that Gurba is not only losing the “bad parts” but the “good” as well. The ideas “some lloronas sacrifice their eggs by loving other women” (Gurba 47) because of the separation between lesbian desire and reproduction. Gurba, unlike Tita, shows a different understanding of the male construction of shame and anxiety surrounding giving birth to a “monstrous” child:

A mother killing her kids seems like the most natural thing in the world to me…I came to this conclusion through…a childhood game called Push. A game where one person flails on a mattress, fakes labor, while another person stands between their legs yelling, “PUSH!” The person pushing always has more fun. It’s the most fun if you push so hard you die, and your playmate has to drag you by your feet to the yard to bury you. Even as a kid playing Push, I understood that the things you love most are things that wind up killing you, so why not beat them to it? (Gurba 49)

For Gurba, the infanticide done by lloronas is not out of shame, but the awareness of the capabilities of children. Even then, the lloronas made through water or other objects are attempting to purify both the children and themselves. She states that in the end, children are going to steal certain abilities from their mothers in order to exist. For Gurba, having biological children in a traditional, heterosexual manner would rob her of her other identities that have more significance to her than being a mother. It is in that thought process that the hierarchy of placing maternity as the most valued is dismantled for the inclusion of other valued identities.

The continuous adaptation and reclamation of La Llorona adds new possibilities besides motherhood, even if that means unbecoming a mother. The importance of having symbolic space beyond the archetypes in place for motherhood allows for divergent paths. In the past, “for the women…the options were limited. Death and marriage were the only two possibilities for women in novels and were, frequently the same end” (Musgrave 27). Even with the creation of new possibilities, there are still going to be binaries that make women choose, but it is that choice and a choice that can be individually successful that is needed in the maternal mythology. For those who choose motherhood there is “never an end to it, being a mother of children who need you there to rescue them, as long as you survive” (Musgrave 30). The other possibilities come with the individual ability to create their own hierarchy of value like Gurba, Gertrudis, and Tita have created to become their own archetypes of motherhood.

The depictions of “good” and “bad” women are bound to a set of universal beliefs and understandings that it can be difficult to recognize the diverse realities of it in each individual and culture. The traditional societal values associated with the “good/bad” mother binary and the triad of motherhood archetypes La Malinche/Virgin of Guadalupe/La Llorona are slowly being dismantled and reclaimed by females to be more inclusive of identities that challenge the gender roles and behaviors set in place by a patriarchal society to dominate the bodies and minds of women. The inclusion of identities like sexuality, reproductive choices, and sex partners reconfigures the hierarchy of value placed on women to go beyond just their reproductive qualities allowing for individuals to restructure and replicate the framework. Through texts like How Some Abuelitas Keep Their Chicana Granddaughters Still While Painting Their Portraits in Winter and Como agua para chocolate, universalizing in the diverse depictions of motherhood creates for a better understanding of archetypes that were merely “nothing” and profane extremes on both ends of the spectrum in an attempt to have women fail no matter the false “choice” they made. Instead, these female writers and characters offer up the chance of other possibilities outside of motherhood and unbecoming what society has expected and justified as female experience since birth. In the end, these hybridizations of traditional motherhood archetypes creates more symbolic space for the imagery of good, bad, and unbecoming mother alike.

Works Cited

Canfield, J. Douglas. “The Feminizing of Freedom and Fulfillment: Como Agua para     Chocolate.” Mavericks on the Border: The Early Southwest in Historical Fiction and Film. University Press of Kentucky, 2001, pp. 164-175.

Castillo, Debra. “Ellipses and Intersections.” Easy Women: Sex and Gender in Modern Mexican Fiction. U of Minnesota Press, 1998, pp. 1-34.

DePaoli, Maria. “The Dynamics of the Mother Archetype in Mexican Cinema Shaped by    Women: Analysis of Pioneer Matilde Landeta’s Screenwriting and Film Directing in La      Negra Angustias.” The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 6, no. 1, 2013, pp. 171-186.

Driver, Susan. “Can Queer Theory Radicalize ‘The Mother’s’ Body?” Canadian Woman Studies,   vol. 16, no. 2, 1996, pp. 30-32.

Esquivel, Laura. Como Agua para Chocolate. Random House, Inc., 1989.

Gurba, Myriam. How Some Abuelitas Keep Their Chicana Granddaughters Still While Painting    Their Portraits in Winter. Manic D Press, 2015.

Morin, Sylvia Veronica. “Reforging a Forgotten Faith: The Femme Fatale’s Role in Revaluing    Indigenous Religion in Elena Garro’s Los Recuerdos del Porvenir.” Interdisciplinary Humanities, vol. 31, no. 2, 2014, pp. 33-46.

Musgrave, Susan. “Motherhood and Other Possibilities” Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008, pp. 23-30.

Santos, Cristina. “Maligned Mother(hood)s” Unbecoming Female Monsters: Witches, Vampires,   and Virgins. Lexington Books, 2017.