This short story comes to the reader through the eyes of a simple minded orphan, a Mexican boy by the name of Macario. He is the central character placed between two women of opposite characteristics. The Godmother, a figure of authority and oppression is seen as the cold ruler of the household. She uses religion as a threat and to instill fear hoping to control Macario’s sinful behavior. Felipa, the nurse or perhaps housekeeper is a nurturing, giving fiture. She is seen as a sensual character, soothing Macario’s fears and endless hunger.
The story begins with Godmother having ordered Macario to sit by the sewer. Board in hand he is ready to kill the frogs which have been keeping Godmother awake with their endless croaking. Felipa does not want him to hurt the frogs but even though he loves her more, Godmother gives the orders. His thoughts are in a simple, clear manner. Toads are black, as are Godmothers eyes and bad to eat. Frogs are green, as are Felipa’s eyes and good to eat. Sitting by the sewer his life comes to the reader through his thoughts.
The behavior that Godmother sees as “sinful” is his insatiable appetite and the banging of his head hours on end against pillars and floors. She tells him if there are scorpions and cockroaches in his room it’s because he will burn in hell for banging his head. He locks himself in his room and as the insects crawl across his body he refuses to light the torch for fear of his own sins finding him. He believes and trusts Godmother because when she offers him food it is given but when the townspeople offer him food they throw rocks.
Felipa is his source of comfort. She seems to understand his hunger and often gives him her portion of food. Previously to the time of the story she had allowed him to nurse “the sweet hot milk” from her breast and to sleep with her until dawn. She goes to confession everyday to help drive the devils from him.
The opposing forces of the Godmother’s unnatural coldness verses Felipa’s natural warmth causes many conflicts in the simple mind of Macario. The terror he feels when confronted by his Godmother with his own sins, death and eternal damnation are the fears of his mind and nights. The realistic fears of his days are those of being bruised and bloodied by the stones of the townspeople. These feelings are in strong conflict with the nurturing and warmth of Felipa’s body and in her words of prayer asking pardon for Macario.
These conflicts provide excellent possibilities for movement and motivation for the students final choreography projects. Macario’s terror and agitation (head banging) could be interpreted in percussive movement that contain asymmetrical and oppositional elements of design. His relationship with Felipa could be interpreted in swinging movements using symmetrical and successional elements of design. The character of the Godmother is one of conflict, power and fortitude. These characteristics could be enhanced with proper use of the stage space. The Godmother entering from an upstage corner moving towards Macario on a diagonal path would give the impression that she was descending upon him. Her movements could be kept to those of opposition to further enhance the feeling of conflict and power.