So Far From God, By Ana Castillo

1535 words - 6 pages

Ana Castillo’s novel, So Far From God, propels the reader on a vibrant and surreal journey through the tragic ordeals of Sofi and her four daughters. The first chapter, which offers certain similarities to the Bible’s story of Jesus Christ, in that Sofi’s three year old daughter, La Loca, seems to succumb to a violent and horrifying death, and at the wake, she returns to life with a tale of her journey beyond the veil. This scene creates a notable comparison between the patriarchal religiosity of the story of Jesus Christ and the Chicana-centered resurrection, complete with the hypocrisy of a male-centered system of beliefs, the acts of acquiring selfhood as a female centered savior, and the phenomena of the “death” of the saviors.
The story had only just begun when La Loca died in an unsettling fashion; her tiny body thrashed so violently that it was thrown from the bed and foam, mixed with a dash of blood, escaped her mouth. While she was in the powerful throes of death, Sofi and her daughters wailed and watched helplessly, because they were too frightened by the girl’s seizures. It was a sad time for the people of their village, because no one likes to bury a child, especially a young one. After La Loca’s wake, her mother wanted to give her a Mass before placing her corpse into the ground. It was here, as Father Jerome, offered some comforting words that the girl pushed open her coffin and “returned” to the waking world.
So far, there are a few comparisons that can be made between La Loca and Jesus, which preceded their resurrections. There is the notion of innocence that the two share and symbolize. Despite the fact that there is debate amongst scholars, Jesus was believed to be between thirty-three and thirty-five years old when he was crucified for our sins. In addition to this, Christianity promotes the idea that Jesus, the only son of God, died without sin; in other words, he was innocent. Curiously, La Loca was only three years old and without sin. However, this is where their similarities seem to dwindle.
Christianity’s male-centered messiah differs significantly from the female-earthly healer that Castillo created within her story. Jesus’s own resurrection was met with awe and, for those who adhered to his teachings, adoration. To some extent, La Loca’s resurrection was met with similar reaction. “The crowd settled down, some still on their knees, palms together, all looking up at the little girl like the glittering angel placed at the top of a Christmas tree,” (Castillo 24). The Christian texts said that Jesus was the messiah and that his resurrection signified that he had defeated death. It is important to note that, according to the Bible, Jesus actually died, which made his resurrection truly remarkable. Shortly after the scene at Mass, the reader finds out that La Loca suffered from epilepsy, but the ignorant people were not able to diagnose it properly.
Curiously, La Loca’s resurrection heralded her quest to...

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