Sample Essay

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The youngest of the four sisters is La Loca. She dies for the first time early on in the novel at the age of three (Castillo, 1993, p. 19). When she comes back to life in Church during her funeral mass, her mother curses the priest who questions whether it is a miracle of God or a satanic manifestation saying to him “don’t you dare start this backward thinking against her” (Castillo, 1993, p. 23). This is a criticism of the Christian view of women as naturally predisposed toward demonic possession and following the wiles of Satan.

Floating in the air, the little girl reveals that she has been to all three stations of the afterlife, Hell, Purgatory and Heaven and she has been sent back to pray for them, she says that anyone who doubts her will never see God in heaven (Castillo, 1993, p. 24). This is an obvious reference to the resurrection of Jesus in Christianity.

The resurrected girl is hailed as a saint and is hailed by the people of Tome as ‘La Loca Santa’ meaning ‘The Crazy Saint’, this is shortened to just ‘La Loca’ (The Crazy [female]) which is the name she is referred to as throughout the novel (Castillo, 1993, p. 25). La Loca is a healer, a miracle worker and a clairvoyant; she avoids people and does not let anyone other than her mother touch her (Castillo, 1993, p. 27). She is a mysterious figure in the novel; she lives the life of a hermetic saint but dies as a teenager of AIDS (Castillo, 1993, p. 226), a disease associated with sexual promiscuity and recreational drug use. This is perhaps a comment on the Christian, especially Roman Catholic association of sexual celibacy with holiness and religiosity which may result in clandestine sexual activity without the use of proper protections. This can be seen from the fact that La Loca knows “all about a woman’s pregnancy cycle” and performs three abortions on her sister Caridad (Castillo, 1993, p. 164).

After her death, she is canonized as a saint, the patron saint of starving and mysterious diseases (Castillo, 1993, p. 249). Her statues are kept at home for good luck and are given to brides and ‘progressive grooms’ (Castillo, 1993, p. 248). La Loca is thus a saint for the modern age; she is martyred at the hands of traditional morality in an age where traditional morality is considered outdated.

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