Main Piece: “The story of La Llorona, was one that my mom used to tell me a lot when I was a kid. The story goes that there was this lady who would go to the river and cry… and she would always be crying… every day. She would go to the river because one day years ago, when she went out to the river, she took her children with her and just drowned them cause she was possessed. So she felt horrible and ever since that day she would go down to the river every day and cry. My mom used to say that if I was bad, La Llorona would come and get me, and then take me to the river and drown me. My mom even said that one time she saw her when she was a child, and she was convinced that she existed. La Llorona would always be described as wearing a veil. One day when my mom was younger and she was home, she went outside and sine she grew up on a ranch there were a bunch of corn fields that lined the property. And while she was outside, she looked over and standing at the edge of the cornfield there was a lady with a veil standing in-front of the corn field.”
Background: UV knows this myth from his mother from when he was growing up in Mexico. His mother would tell him this story along with his other siblings, and he said that it always scared him. He mentioned that this was a very common myth that was told in Mexico, and that almost everybody he knew had been told some variation of this story. It was something that was very prevalent in UV’s life. UV also discussed that when he heard this story, that the themes and the message he got out of it was that, La Llorona represented the consequences if you do bad. Probably not a demon, but if you disobey your parents and if you do bad things then bad things will happen to you. Specifically in this case since he was told this as a child, he said that it further reinforced his obedience because he didn’t want anything to happen to him so he made sure to be kind and follow the rules so that La Llorona wouldn’t come get him.
Context of Performance: UV told me this story while we were hanging out at my apartment and talking about the different stories and myths that our parents used to tell us when we were kids. We were also talking about how the story of La Llorona was being made into a live action film, and he wanted to tell me the story that he had heard when he was a child so that we could see how it compared to the new movie.
Analysis: Being from America, I was vaguely familiar with this story but only from a very surface level. It was certainly interesting to hear how dark this story was and especially the consequences that come from it. Given that this was mainly a story to be told to children, it was just surprising to me to hear about a specter figure who would seek children who were bad and then drown them if she got a hold of them. But this story may simply seem dark to me because American myths for children are generally more lighthearted, and my own cultural bias may be playing into this. Based on the conversation I had with UV, I find that this story is a pretty effective tool for parents to use to ensure their children do not disobey them or act out. UV mentioned that Mexico is very big on respect and especially obeying your family, so this story certainly reinforces that idea for young kids. I think in some ways, this story could also even remind parents to keep an eye on their children so that they aren’t getting into trouble. La Llorona may be a scary specter for children, but it may also even represent a looming danger around children, one that parents must always make sure they are aware of so that they can keep their children safe.
For another version of this legend, see:
The Curse of La Llorona. Directed Michael Chaves. Warner Bros. Entertainment, 2019.