One of the key themes of this excellent short story is that of alienation. Laura is a character who is profoundly alienated from the world that she finds herself in. She doesn't really understand the context of Mexico, speaks Spanish poorly and struggles to identify with the Mexican peasants that she has supposedly come to support and work alongside. Her alienation is shown in the way that she does not understand cultural acts, for example in the case of her suitor to whom she throws a flower, thinking that it will tell him to go away. Of course, the act of throwing him a flower is one that only encourages him to pursue her even more:
...he would be back again the next night, and the next... still with that flower withering in his hat, and an indivisible attention in his eyes.
Such descriptions and actions build up a picture of a woman who is experiencing profound alienation. The very cause that she moved to Mexico to be part of seems to be different now she is there, and the text explores her feeling that she "has been betrayed irreparably by the disunion between her way of livng and her feeling of what life should be." Laura is a woman who experiences a feeling of not really belonging anywhere, and this corresponds with her crisis of faith to augment her feelings of alienation. This principal theme would be an excellent one to explore in an essay as it would give opportunity for development of Laura's character as it is presented in the short story.