In the novel There There, curses are subtle and psychological. We can think of the curses as old grievances from the past. They do not directly affect a person's future, though they could depending on circumstance and if the "cursed" person believes in the curse. The curses are discussed in a chapter narrated by Octavio Gomez, a young man who lives with his grandmother Josefina (Fina) after his immediate family is killed in a drunk driving accident. Fina explains curses by saying:
A real curse is more like a bullet fired from far off. . . . There's someone aiming a bullet meant for you, but with that distance, most of the time it doesn't hit and even if it hits it usually won't kill you. It all depends on the aim of the shooter.
Fina tells Octavio that he might be cursed...
(The entire section contains 425 words.)