Why does the narrator give her mother upsetting news in the short story "The Moths"?

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mlsldy3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Moths" is narrated by a young girl who is taking care of her dying grandmother. The girl feels like she doesn't fit in at home, so when her grandmother asks her to come and help her, she agrees. She says that her grandmother has always been there for her, so now she needs to be there for her grandmother. The young girl's home life has not been a good one. She was often beaten by her father, she was made fun of by her sisters, and her mother didn't think she was girlie enough like her sisters were. The only bright light in the girl's life was her grandmother.

She gives her mother upsetting news about her grandmother, sort of as a slap in the face. Her mother is crying over the grandmother, and the girl, I think, feels like why are you doing this, now? No one else has come to help her. She is only 14 and taking care of a dying beloved grandmother. She feels alone, yet this experience helps the girl to grow. She has learned so much about living from her grandmother, and now she is learning about dying, as well. 

This story may be a short story, but it is long on the ramifications of how we treat each other. The narrator is treated badly at home, yet shows amazing strength when she is faced with the death of her grandmother. As her grandmother dies, the narrator experiences a sort of rebirth. She comes into her own just as her grandmother passes from this life to the next.

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The Moths

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