Question: “Traditional values constrain the individual and must be dismantled to achieve
“I know why the caged bird sings” – seven striking words uttered from the lips of none other than Maya Angelou. When one hears these words, several others flood the forefront of the mind: sorrow, captivity and solitude are most prominent. Delving deeper into the subliminal message, one could easily identify that the bird represents the individual whose freedom is being restrained while the cage, the conforming society to which the individual belongs. These words figuratively speak to restriction of the individual within the confines of the “cage” which ...view middle of the document...
Mamá Elena felt as though her authority was being challenged and confirmed her dominance through physically harming Tita. Constantly, the desires and thoughts of those in Mamá Elena’s household are thwarted. Their opinions and feelings do not matter to her and so they are discarded or concealed. This does not mean that they cease to exist as Tita is one example of this. She was caged by Mama Elená’s domination, but she still felt a strong desire towards Pedro, her lover. The domination only caused deep sorrow and pain, both physical and mental to Tita. What, then, is the true purpose for Mama Elená’s domination?
Another theme that seems to oppose traditional values in the context of this novel is love. Tita has an inexplicably resilient love for Pedro. In Febrero¸ at the wedding of Pedro and Rosaura, Pedro riskily holds Tita close and whispers, telling her that he is happy he is now married as he can now be closer to the woman he loves, Tita herself. This blatant display of love towards Tita goes against societal norms and values. Their love transcends what is considered to be right, it is a true expression of their individuality. However, time and time again this is restrained by the ideology of the day where the youngest daughter must remain unmarried and take care of her mother until death. This traditional value has confined them and reduced their relationship to what would have been deemed illegitimate exchanges, only illegitimate because of the unwritten law of the day. What, then, is the purpose of traditional values if all it has done to Tita and Pedro is prevent them from expressing their true love for one another?
In a place where la mujer honrada, la pierna quebrada y en casa, another major theme to be examined is rebellion. Rebellion comes because of the tight rein with which Mamá Elena holds her household. Her tight restraint on her household, her consistent denial of the individuals’ freedom of expression has caused an upheaval against her. Her iron fist is like a hand squeezing play dough – it will squeeze and...