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Rosario Castellanos: short stories

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Karen Cardentti

on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of Rosario Castellanos: short stories

Modesta Gomez:
She was uneducated and grew up believing that she was worth little.
Had little or no power in the beginning of the novel.
Had to work an unpleasant job to survive
Attempts to gain power by beating and stealing from an Indian woman because she was lower in status.
Both main characters are women.

Both are controlled by men.

Both feel suppressed and belittled.
Rosario Castellanos: Short Story Comparison
By: Karen & Juana

"Modesta Gomez"
Ciudad Real, city in Mexico
Moxviqiul, small town in Mexico
Modesta Gomez is given to the Ochoa family as a servant.
The son (Jorge Ochoa) gets close to Modesta.
Jorge needs to prove that he is a man so he rapes Modesta.
Modesta becomes pregnant and gets kicked out.
She marries (Alberto) who is abusive to her and has more kids.
Alberto dies and she is left on her own.
Must resort to being an "atajadora" (ambusher).
Character Comparison
Theme: Social Inequality
Quick Bio.
Born May 25, 1925, Mexico City, Mexico—died August 7, 1974, Tel Aviv, Israel
Novelist, short-story writer, poet, essayist, and diplomat
Probably the most important Mexican woman writer of the 20th century
From 1960 to 1966 she was press director for UNAM.
In 1971 Castellanos became Mexico’s ambassador to Israel, and she died there three years later, accidentally electrocuted in her Tel Aviv home.
"Cooking Lesson"
Kitchen in the woman's home
A woman narrates the story.
Her name is never known.
She suffers from an inner conflict.
The woman tries to prepare dinner for her husband as she waits for him to arrive from work, but she ends up burning the dinner.
Contemplates her marriage as she prepares dinner.

Theme: Gender Roles
"Modesta Gomez"
Modesta has to be a servant and caretaker of Jorge, son of the Ochoa family .
Has to cook and clean for the family.
Seen as inferior even when she is doing the same job as the other men.

"Cooking Lesson"
Woman is a housewife.
She must make sure to attend to all of her husband's needs.
Since her place is in the home, she must stop her studies.
Nameless Woman
She was educated and intelligent.
She had power over herself but lost her power when she got married.
Story ends at a decision point for her: Should she tell her husband she burned his dinner and ruin his image of her, or should she hide it and go on being a "perfect" housewife?
"Modesta Gomez"
Discrimination between social classes.
Ochoa family- upper class and have money
Modesta- lower class servant because she is poor
The Indians- seen as lowest class and are abused and taken advantage of.
"Thus even the poorest, most miserable of the whites and mestizos desire to maintain a barrier between themselves and the Indians." (Parham)
Theme: Machismo
"Modesta Gomez"
Jorge :
He is Modesta's "patron" and takes advantage of that.
He rapes Modesta: "Thanks to his rape of Modesta, Jorge could brag about being a 'real' man" (Castellanos).
Up at all hours of the night while Modesta stayed at home.
Physically abused Modesta .
Neglected his family.
"Cooking Lesson"
Expects his wife to have dinner ready when he gets home from work.
Watches her suspiciously and regards her as property: "But who am I? Your wife of course... I bear an owner's brand, a property tag, and yet you watch me suspiciously."
"Modesta Gomez" and "Cooking Lesson" both reflect on very similar issues.
gender roles, machismo, social inequality, and feminism.

Reader experiences the womens' struggles first hand.

Though these are fictional stories, we can see that Rosario Castellanos feels strongly about these subjects and wants to bring them to light.

The issues she presents in the stories are real issues that have affected Hispanic women for many years and are still affecting them today.
Full transcript