La Llorona

La Llorona is a Latin American cautionary tale that some parents use to warn their children of the dangers in their lives. They also use this story to frighten children when they are behaving badly. They warn that misbehavior could cause La Llorona to kidnap them.

The story of La Llorona is of a woman who either drowns her children when spurned by her lover or drowns her children for a man who would not have her otherwise. Confronted with the horrific crime she has committed, she drowns herself. When she tries to enter Heaven, she is prevented from doing so. She cannot enter until she has her children. Hence, she forever wanders watery areas, looking for her lost children.

She is called La Llorona, "The Weeping Woman," because she is constantly crying while searching for her children. She is said to look for her children mostly at night, and mostly near the water (usually at a place parents do not want their child to be).

In Under the Feet of Jesus, Viramontes uses La Llorona in a way that is consistent with children who have grown up with the tale. The screeching of owls becomes La Llorona’s cry in the mind of the children. Because this cautionary tale is ingrained into them, the children make allusions to it.

Works Cited and Consulted

Anaya, Rudolfo. "La Llorona, El Kookooee, And Sexuality." Bilingual Review 17.1 (1992): 50. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.

Moore, Deborah Owen. "La Llorona Dines At The Cariboo Cafe: Structure And Legend In The Work Of Helena Maria Viramontes." Studies In Short Fiction 35.3 (1998): 277. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.

For a quick overview of the legend and related legends see:

"La Llorona." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Oct. 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. <>.

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