El Pez Muere

Main Piece:

Participant – “Growing up my mom’s always been very out there and has always expressed her opinion through her fashion and through what she wears and everything, so she’s always been very out there, she doesn’t care what people thing but she’s always told me that you have to be careful what you say because, essentially in Spanish you say…


‘el pez muere por la boca’


…which means ‘the fish dies through the mouth’ which is kind of like think before you speak and watching what you say. She’s always said you don’t want to do things to other people that you don’t want to be done to you. Like taking everyone into consideration and essentially like don’t be a mean person, and just thinking about everything before you say it.”


I asked the participant and some friends if they grew up hearing any common proverbs or life lessons from the people around them. The participant shared this with me after some of our other friends shared proverbs as well.


The participant has grown up in many parts of the world, she was originally born in Columbia but moved to the California Bay Area and grew up there until she was 12. After that, her family moved to Paris, France where she went to high school until at age 16 her family moved to Hong Kong. Now the participant is a second semester student at the University of Southern California in the School of Dramatic Arts. Both of her parents were born in Columbia and her family goes back every Christmas and Summer. This proverb has been told to the participant her entire life by her mother and it has always stuck with her.          


Proverbs are a simple and easy way to share and remember life lessons. Extensive meaning is packed into a little phrase that can effortlessly be passed from person to person. The participant learned this proverb from her mom making it more personal and leaving a lasting impression. The participant now utilizes this message in her day to day life, the way proverbs are intended to be thought of.