Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 384
When asked what she most wants, Ursa says,
What all us Corregidora women want. Have been taught to want. To make generations.
Her great-grandmother has tried to impress upon her the importance of having children, as this is the only way to ensure that evidence remains of the women's cruel and violent treatment by Corregidora, a Portuguese slave-breeder, pimp, and rapist. Ursa's great-grandmother was raped by him, producing her grandmother, and her grandmother (Corregidora's own daughter) was likewise raped by him, producing Ursa's mother. To this end, when Ursa was very young, her great-grandmother told her
…The important thing is making generations. They can burn the papers but they can’t burn conscious, Ursa. And that what makes the evidence. And that’s what makes the verdict.
This advice is what makes it so difficult, in part, for Ursa to emotionally recover from the tragic loss of her ability to have children. When her first husband, Mutt, jealously confronts her, he either pushes her or she falls, in a struggle with him, down a flight of stairs. This event results in the loss of the child she's carrying as well as the need for her to have a hysterectomy, rendering her unable to bear any more children. Without being able to have children, she will not be able to produce the "evidence" that her family requires. Her inability to do so is completely devastating to her.
Later in the text, Tadpole McCormick, her boss and husband asks her what singing the blues does for her. She says,
It helps me to explain what I can’t explain.
How could a person possibly come to terms with, let alone explain, what it is like to be the granddaughter and, simultaneously, the great-granddaughter of a rapist, a man who is so completely reprehensible and vile that he defies description? Further, how could a woman, who has been raised to believe that the best thing she can do for her family and herself is to have children to provide a legacy of evidence, come to terms with or explain her feelings at being unable to do so? Ursa's reliance on music to vent and and deal with her feelings, despite her mother's insistence that her songs are "devils," is tragic and beautiful and awful, all at once.
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