The writer is talking about her name, its origin, and meaning. Every name has a background and a meaning behind it. Often, names are passed down family trees over generations. It is, however, a surprise that most people named after their ancestors take up some of the characteristics that their ancestors had, often unknowingly. The writer narrates of the origin of her name, what she likes about her name and its origin but stresses what she dislikes/hates about the name. The hyperbolic and sarcastic tone the story is delivered in works to emphasize how much the writer dislikes their name regardless of its origin and the positive side of the name.
In the story, the writer establishes a conflict between her Mexican identity and the English-speaking country she lives. The conflict is first created by identifying the very different meanings of her name in the two languages. While one is graceful and pleasant, like a compliment, the other is confusing and diminishing. Although the English meaning of her name is pleasing, the pronunciation makes it seem like a terrible name. On the other hand, the Spanish meaning is confusing, but the pronunciation is graceful and attractive. Although with two contrasting meanings and two differing pronunciations, the name gives the writer a sense of belonging to her Spanish origins, owing to the graceful and soft pronunciation of the name. The funny and hoarse pronunciation of her name in English is a constant reminder that she is an outsider.
The writer, like her great-grandmother, was born in the Chinese year of the horse- meant to be bad luck for them. Such women are considered to be stubborn and independent; they do not take advice, are social and smart. In the story, the narrator shows such characteristics severally. Firstly, the hyperbolic and sarcastic tone in the entirety of the story point to an independent and “care-free” woman. Secondly, the sharp criticism of her name, and even more, her sister’s name depicts her stubbornness. Also, her unwillingness to live a life like her great-grandmother lived as well as her desire to change her name shows she is an independent woman who wants to remain in control of her life and her decisions.
The narrator says that her name originated from her great-grandmother. Although they never met, the narrator has an undeniable admiration for her great-grandmother, revealed by her desire to have met her. She describes her great-grandmother as a “wild horse of a woman.” Given the care-free nature of the narrator, this definition shows her admiration for her great-grandmother. However, the narrator also expresses the desire to avoid her great-grandmother’s lack of control over her own life, more so after marriage. She notes that her great-grandmother’s place was by the window. This shows that a woman’s worth is reduced to subordinating to her husband’s needs upon marriage. She loses control of her own life and is expected to support her husband in every way possible. Earlier in the story, the narrator mentions that the Mexicans do not think their women are strong. This line of thought diminishes the value of a woman in society. Although the narrator wants to be a “wild horse of a woman” like her great-grandmother, she does not want to lose her value and aspirations or be under the tight grip of a husband like her great-grandmother was.
Although the narrator does not directly describe herself, one can describe her from the story. She is a fiery woman, one who has a passionate nature about life and everything she does in her life. Like her great-grandmother, she is feisty; she is excitable and spirited but also courageous and quick to take offense. Also, she is discerning; she can compare her name to emotions, color, sound, and other objects in human life. Her free-spirited nature and knowing what she wants and what she does not want in life makes her the “wild horse of a woman” her great-grandmother was.