Me: “Within your Mexican culture, did you grow up hearing any scary stories?”
EC: “um yeah, it’s pretty crazy how affected we were by it actually. My parents always used to tell us about El Cucuy. My parents used to use it to scare me and my siblings from going to unsupervised places. It’s supposed to be a monster that scares kids”.
Me: “Ok, so was it like a generalized monster? Like did it have a name?”
EC: “yeah, it’s super generalized, El Cucuy literally translates to monster so it didn’t have a name. My parents would just say “don’t go over there! The Cucuy will get you!”
Translation: “The monster”
Context (informant’s relationship to the piece, where they heard it, how they interpret it):
-EC’s relationship to this piece stems from her Mexican culture within her childhood home considering this legend is said primarily in Mexico, Spain, and other Latin American countries. EC would hear this legend at home, at family gatherings, from her aunts, or from a random person that was attempting to warn her from going anywhere she wasn’t supposed to. EC interprets this legend as a scaring tactic that parents use to control the ways in which their kids behave. Not to mention, EC interprets this legend as a light-hearted joke that tells kids to ultimately listen to their parents.
Analysis (what kind of personal, cultural, or historical values might be expressed) YOUR interpretation:
-The overall cultural value within this legend stems from the various origin stories that can be told considering it is a popular phenomenon among Mexico, Spain, and other Latin American households. Not to mention, the cultural value can be seen within how these Latin American cultures raise their kids within their similar lifestyle values. Not to mention, the personal values that can be expressed within this legend is the way parents raise their kids regarding their own personal beliefs and customs. I see this legend as an overall motive to control bad behavior in children and to scare them into following the commands of their parents. I interpret this legend as an idea of obedience as scary methods can be made considering this legend showcases a parent’s overall motive to scare their children from going anywhere alone. Considering that I have heard about this legend myself and grew up with it, I ultimately interpret El Cucuy as an embedded concept that is directed towards children in order for them to be scared of the unknown. Given the fact that this entity is nameless, leads me to think that this scary tactic allows children to interpret this monster in any way they choose which can determine how scary they make it seem in their own perceptual minds. One similar legend that has similar qualities to El Cucuy is the legend of La Chupacabra considering that they are creatures that are intended for behavioral motives. However, the main difference between El Cucuy and La Chupacabra is that there have been actual sighting reports on La Chupacabra while there hasn’t for El Cucuy. This leads El Cucuy to be represented as an imaginative creature in kids minds. The overall idea of El Cucuy can fall under the concept of an ostension considering actual kidnappers can be placed as the given ‘monster’ that can take you if you go wander around places unattended.