Me: “Did you grow up hearing any legends?”
DR: “I know about The Chupacabra. Growing up in my Salvadorian household I remember constantly hearing about The Chupacabra. From what I remember, it’s a creature that almost resembles a dog or like a coyote that was dangerous and would only appear at night. Supposably, they would suck the blood of goats until they died”.
Me: “Why specifically goats?”
DR: “Not quite sure, but it doesn’t only pertain to goats, I often heard different family members saying that it applied to various types of domestic animals…like on farms. I guess it has to do with the idea that at night farm animals are usually left outside in fenced capacities which makes it easier for The Chupacabra to attack them. Actually if someone was out late, they would be taken away and eaten by The Chupacabra, which is why my parents would always warn me about it and kids I grew up with would always be scared of it”.
Translation: “The goat-sucker”
Context (informant’s relationship to the piece, where they heard it, how they interpret it):
-DR’s relationship to this piece stems from her Salvadorian and Mexican culture considering this legend is said to affect those of Mexican, Salvadorian, and other Latin American cultures which is why DR grew up constantly hearing about this legend within her mixed household. DR would hear this legend from her immediate Salvadoran father and from her extended Mexican family. She would also hear it from her extended family from El Salvador who have reportedly seen The Chupacabra in their home country. Not to mention, DR would also hear this legend from other students in elementary school. DR interprets this legend as a scary phenomenon that makes children scared of the dark in hopes to keep them safe from the dangers of kidnapping, drug dealing, and gangs that would be evident at night in many Latin American countries.
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 within Latin American cultures and households; specifically in this case, a Salvadorian home and their overall spiritual beliefs. Not to mention, the personal values that can be expressed within this legend is that it allows the individual to inherit fear of this creature and to be extra cautious at night or within how they care for their farm animals which exemplifies their consciousness beliefs. I see this legend as an overall concept of obedience when it comes to a parent’s emphasis on their motive to scare their children from going out at night in order to avoid danger. Considering that I have heard about this legend myself, I interpret La Chupacabra to be a terror embedded concept that is directed towards children in order to maintain their behavior and as a possible excuse that farmers can use as a way to redirect their mistreatment of farm animals who pass away on their watch. One similar legend that has similar qualities to La Chupacabra is the legend of Bigfoot that I grew up hearing. These two legends are similar in the fact that they are both considered legends regarding creatures that stem from conspiracy theories. Not to mention, the only difference between these two legends is that I grew up hearing about Bigfoot from a social process while DR grew up hearing about La Chupacabra as an individual memorate process, given her families reported encounters in their home country.