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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 163

Aunt Maria (pronounced Ma-RYE-ah) sensitively treats difficult relationships and abuses of power. Characters Mig and her older brother Chris face first a parental breakup, then their mother's total subjection to a sweet and helpless— but very strange—great-aunt. The stresses of life with Aunt Maria are developed in a suspenseful story which includes a ghostly apparition and other paranormal phenomena. Although the happenings are often improbable, Mig and Chris are believable characters who must master family problems that most readers can recognize in their own lives.

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Jones presents ideas about tyranny in families that also apply to the community, since Aunt Maria's actions have overwhelmed the men, women, and children in her entire town. Aunt Maria works on several levels to examine conventional rules, personal freedom, and the roles of men and women. Mig and Chris resist Aunt Maria's magic, thus showing that resourcefulness, courage, honesty, and caring can defeat evil manipulations and restore proper balance among individual people in the real world.

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