Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 322
Throughout the novel, Jesusa presents examples of the times when she alone had to take responsibility for her own survival, as well as other times when she depended heavily on the support of other people. She never fully escaped her childhood poverty and to some extent desired to enter respectable, middle-class society even as she fought against the status quo.
Jesusa is frank about her bad as well as good qualities and portrays herself as very masculine in childhood. She also explains that her natural “badness” was an asset when she was fighting as a soldadera. At the same time, serving alongside others was a part of the maturing process.
I was a real tomboy, and I always liked to play at war, throwing rocks, . . . wrestling, kicking, pure boy stuff. . . . Even as a child, I was naturally bad. I was born mean . . . . The blessed revolution helped me grow up.
Having been a tomboy, Jesusa was always comfortable around males, but when she became sexually involved with one, she began to see them differently, in a far more negative light. She endured marriage to an abusive husband, and after leaving, she valued her independence even at her poorest.
Men are always abusive, as if that’s what it meant to be a man. That’s the sickness of Mexican men . . . . I was a martyr, and now I’m not any more. I suffer like everyone else, but not like I suffered when I had a husband.
Even in a desperate situation, when she was taken in after being homeless and had to sleep on the kitchen floor, Jesusa was grateful for the family’s actions that she perceived as generosity.
I had to sleep on the floor, behind the stove, sharing the space with the dog . . . . Why should they give me food if they didn’t owe me anything? They did enough for me in giving me that corner, even amidst their poverty.
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