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Geovani Borja

Professor Batty

English 102

22 September 2017

The Will to Live On

When coming from a Latino background youve probably heard the word curandera or

curandero. A curandera/curandero is a traditional native healer. In the poem La Curandera by

Gloria Anzaldua she talks about a woman in her poem and the journey this woman goes through

to become the curandera. At first when you read it may seem like a regular story but when you

reread it you find deeper meaning to it. La Curandera was sick, and she was going to die soon,

but she didnt give up hope of surviving. With her will to survive shes blessed and given an

opportunity to learn to heal herself. This goes to show that if you put effort on striving you can

be successful in whatever you do. La Curandera didnt give up hope on living so she survived

and was able to strive from this setback.

Many would argue that there is no deeper meaning to the story and would also argue that

why is it important there is deeper meaning. The deeper meaning in the poem is not to give up

hope. What I mean by this is not to give up so easily. In life there will be many challenges in

order to overcome these challenges. Sobrino had given up in the poem which was the reason of

his own downfall. He didnt believe that he would survive so he died. In the contrary La

Curandera was confident that she would survive so she did.

When looking for a cure for La Curandera Juan Davila and Sobrino went to Mexico to

speak another curandera but didnt have luck. Sobrino got sick in the process and didnt get

better. He had little hope to survive, so he passed away and was buried in Mexico. Juan Davila
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was influenced by Sobrinos thoughts and had already given hope for La Curandera. He

returned to the La Curandera just to put her in her grave. He didnt have any hope in her. She

wasnt ready to die yet though. She was close to death, but she given an opportunity to learn how

to cure herself. Serpents came out and a big black told her that he would teach her, but she would

have to find the herbs. A rosemary plant was engulfed with weeds, and she saved the little

rosemary. It then blossomed to become all the herbs she needed. She then became the curandera

after that day. Having faith can come a long way like it did for La Curandera.

La Curandera poem is telling a story which makes it a narrative. It kind of repeats the

point that it is a story of hope. The style that she uses is very simple but complex. She doesn't use

a rhyme scheme, but she uses a lot of symbolism in her poem. Her symbolism plays a big role in

the poem. For example, she uses the black serpent. Usually snakes signify an evil being like the

devil but in this story it symbolizes good. The serpent brought fear to the curandera but its intent

was pure. The serpent wanted to help the curandera in page 3 of the poem the serpent says We

are your healing spirit guides Anzaldua chooses the serpent to be the curandera guide because

she wants the serpent to be good in her poem. Serpents are usually looked as evil symbols

because of the story of Adam and Eve. The Serpent tricked Eve and was the reason why they

were punished.

La Curandera brings a lot of symbolism to the table. Sobrino is a symbol of what

giving up hope looks like. He became sick and he didnt have any hope that he would continue to

live. He is the reason of his downfall. He gave up from the start and died. La Curandera is also a

symbol. She symbolizes what hope is. She overcame her sickness. Anzaldua uses the weeds to

symbolize evil because they are trying to prevent the rosemary from living, and she needs the
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rosemary to learn how to heal herself. The rosemary symbolizes good because once its freed it

blossoms to all the herbs that the curandera needs.

In the Hispanic culture curanderismo plays a big part in the culture. Till this day there are

many curanderos, but they mostly stay in the indigenous countries like in Mexico. In the article

Considering Curanderismo: The Place of Traditional Hispanic Folk Healing in Modern

Medicine By Stacy Brown she explains how these traditional healers share a connection to their

patients and how belief plays a big role in curanderismo. The religious and spiritual aspects of

the healing process capitalize on the patient's faith and belief systems. Like in the poem La

Curandera her belief in surviving played a big part on her continuing to live. Her belief that she

could survive, and she did survive. The mindset the curandera had when she had when she was

on the verge of dying helped her self-heal. This proves my point on how significant hope is in

the poem. .

Gloria Anzaldua comes from a Hispanic family so Curanderismo is very familiar to her.

She was born in Texas and lived in a ranch. Her grandmother was a grandmother was a

curandera which made her familiar with what curandera is. In the article from The Los Angeles

Times by Elaine Woo she talks about her background and talks about the hardships she went

through. Her grandmother was a curandera, or healer, who so deeply imbued Anzaldua with an

appreciation of the mystical that Anzaldua would say Excuse me even when she bumped into

an inanimate object such as a chair. This is significant because since her grandmother was

curandera Anzaldua knows how Curanderismo works since she was exposed to that in her early

life. Since, she knows what shes writing about it makes her seem more credible to the readers.

She also talks about how belief is a major role in curanderismo. Since, I found out about how

she has a personal experience it makes me believe what shes talking about.
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In Conclusion, the poem La Curandera shows a powerful message. With hope, you can

accomplish the impossible. Like how the Curandera was in the story. Juan Davila didnt have

hope in her survival and had already given up on trying. The biggest message in the poem is to

not give up hope and to continue to move on even if you're at a low point. She didnt though, so

she was able to overcome this obstacle and prospered. Gloria Anzaldua sets a very good example

for others to follow. She shows that one person can overcome any obstacle that they face because

of faith, and they are able to move on. The curandera became her own healer and was given the

opportunity to learn to help herself and others.

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Geovani Borja

Professor Batty

English 102

22 September 2017

Works Cited

1. Woo | Times Staff Writer, Elaine. Gloria Anzaldua, 61; Feminist Academic Edited 'This

Bridge Called My Back'. Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 22 May 2004,


2. Brown, Stacy. Considering Curanderismo: The Place of Traditional Hispanic Folk Healing in

Modern Medicine. ETHOS, www.bc.edu/clubs/mendel/ethos/archives/2008/brown.shtml.