Character Analysis Rosario (Chayo) De Leon ("Little Miracles, Kept Promises")


Chayo appears as the speaker of a monologue/prayer before the last note of the story. In a sense she may also figure in other Cisneros fiction — not as the same character, specifically, but as a character only slightly different from Clemencia in "Never Marry a Mexican," Lupe in "Bien Pretty," Micaela of "'Mericans" (and probably of "Tepeyac"), even Alicia and Esperanza of The House on Mango Street. She is a university student, specifically an art student, who is defying culture and family by going to school and who (in Chayo's case) has angered and hurt her mother and grandmother by rejecting the traditional woman's role of wife and mother.

Just as seriously, Chayo has rejected Catholicism (with its attendant devotion to the Virgin Mary, especially strong in the Latin Church), causing her family to believe she is a hell-bound heretic. It is this facet of her defiance of tradition that is the subject of her prayer. By learning something of her people's past (Mexican history, the organization and strike of farm laborers in the U.S.), she has seen that devotion to the Virgin, which she had always associated with passivity and sorrow (her grandmother's sad prayers), might have a real potential for power. By learning something of ancient religions — including those of Mexico — she has begun to realize that the Mother Goddesses and the Virgin of Guadalupe are perhaps really the same figure. She has, she says, learned all of the Virgin's names, learned to see her in all her facets. Now, instead of a lonely defiance, Chayo has the power of her devotion (which is that of her family's tradition but much more besides) to back her up, and it has given her strength. As a symbol of this newfound strength, she has cut off her long braid of hair and offered it to the Virgin in thanks.

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